5201. (a) The provisions of Chapter 3 (commencing with Section
5301) concerning beneficial ownership as between parties, or as
between parties and P.O.D. payees or beneficiaries of multiple-party
accounts, are relevant only to controversies between these persons
and their creditors and other successors, and have no bearing on the
power of withdrawal of these persons as determined by the terms of
(b) The provisions of Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 5401)
govern the liability of financial institutions who make payments
pursuant to that chapter.
5202. Nothing in this part affects the law relating to transfers in
fraud of creditors.
5203. (a) Words in substantially the following form in a signature
card, passbook, contract, or instrument evidencing an account, or
words to the same effect, executed before, on, or after July 1, 1990,
create the following accounts:
(1) Joint account: "This account or certificate is owned by the
named parties. Upon the death of any of them, ownership passes to the
(2) P.O.D. account with single party: "This account or certificate
is owned by the named party. Upon the death of that party, ownership
passes to the named pay-on-death payee(s)."
(3) P.O.D. account with multiple parties: "This account or
certificate is owned by the named parties. Upon the death of any of
them, ownership passes to the survivor(s). Upon the death of all of
them, ownership passes to the named pay-on-death payee(s)."
(4) Joint account of husband and wife with right of survivorship:
"This account or certificate is owned by the named parties, who are
husband and wife, and is presumed to be their community property.
Upon the death of either of them, ownership passes to the survivor."
(5) Community property account of husband and wife: "This account
or certificate is the community property of the named parties who are
husband and wife. The ownership during lifetime and after the death
of a spouse is determined by the law applicable to community property
generally and may be affected by a will."
(6) Tenancy in common account: "This account or certificate is
owned by the named parties as tenants in common. Upon the death of
any party, the ownership interest of that party passes to the named
pay-on-death payee(s) of that party or, if none, to the estate of
(b) Use of the form language provided in this section is not
necessary to create an account that is governed by this part. If the
contract of deposit creates substantially the same relationsip
between the parties as an account created using the form language
provided in this section, this part applies to the same extent as if
the form language had been used.
5204. (a) In addition to a power of attorney otherwise authorized
by law, a special power of attorney is authorized under this section
to apply to one or more accounts at a financial institution or to one
or more contracts with a financial institution concerning safe
deposit services. For the purposes of this section, "account"
includes checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of
deposit, savings certificates, and any other depository relationship
with the financial institution.
(b) The special power of attorney under this section shall:
(1) Be in writing.
(2) Be signed by the person or persons giving the power of
(3) Explicitly identify the attorney-in-fact or attorneys-in-fact,
the financial institution, and the accounts or contracts subject to
(c) The special power of attorney shall contain language in
substantially the following form:
"WARNING TO PERSON EXECUTING THIS DOCUMENT: This is an important
legal document. It creates a power of attorney that provides the
person you designate as your attorney-in-fact with the broad powers
it sets forth. You have the right to terminate this power of
attorney. If there is anything about this form that you do not
understand, you should ask a lawyer to explain it to you."
(d) In addition to the language required by subdivision (c),
special powers of attorney that are or may be durable shall also
contain substantially the following language:
"These powers of attorney shall continue even if you later become
disabled or incapacitated."
(e) The power of attorney granted under this section shall endure
as between the grantor and grantee of the power until the earliest of
the following occurs:
(1) Revocation by the grantor of the power.
(2) Termination of the account.
(3) Death of the grantor of the power.
(4) In the case of a nondurable power of attorney, appointment of
a guardian or conservator of the estate of the grantor of the power.
(f) A financial institution may rely in good faith upon the
validity of the power of attorney granted under this section and is
not liable to the principal or any other person for doing so if (1)
the power of attorney is on file with the financial institution and
the transaction is made by the attorney-in-fact named in the power of
attorney, (2) the power of attorney appears on its face to be valid,
and (3) the financial institution has convincing evidence of the
identity of the person signing the power of attorney as principal.
(g) For the purposes of subdivision (f), "convincing evidence"
requires both of the following:
(1) Reasonable reliance on a document that satisfies the
requirement of Section 4751.
(2) The absence of any information, evidence, or other
circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the
person signing the power of attorney as principal is not the
individual he or she claims to be.
(h) The protection provided by subdivision (f) does not extend to
payments made after written notice is received by the financial
institution as to any of the events of termination of the power under
subdivision (e) if the financial institution has had a reasonable
time to act on the notice. No other notice or any other information
shown to have been available to the financial institution shall
affect its right to the protection provided by this subdivision.
(i) The attorney-in-fact acting under the power of attorney
granted under this section shall maintain books or records to permit
an accounting of the acts of the attorney-in-fact if an accounting is
requested by a legal representative of the grantor of the power.
(j) The attorney-in-fact acting under a power of attorney granted
under this section is liable for any disbursement other than a
disbursement to or for the benefit of the grantor of the power,
unless the grantor has authorized the disbursement in writing.
(k) Nothing in this section limits the use or effect of any other
form of power of attorney for transactions with a financial
institution. Nothing in this section creates an implication that a
financial institution is liable for acting in reliance upon a power
of attorney under circumstances where the requirements of subdivision
(f) are not satisfied. Nothing in this section affects any immunity
that may otherwise exist apart from this section.
(l) Nothing in this section prevents the attorney-in-fact from
also being designated as a P.O.D. payee.
(m) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Power of
Attorney Law, Division 4.5 (commencing with Section 4000) shall not
apply to a special power of attorney under this section. Section 4130
and Part 5 (commencing with Section 4900) of Division 4.5 shall
apply to a special power of attorney under this section.
5205. This part applies to accounts in existence on July 1, 1990,
and accounts thereafter established.