Banks and credit unions usually allow customers to add people to existing bank accounts. Additions to savings, checking and money market accounts normally occur without delay, whereas customers sometimes have to wait for a certificate of deposit, or CD, to reach maturity before making such name changes. As CDs involve a time deposit contract, banks may be unwilling to make alterations until the CD enters the grace period at the end of the term.
Whenever people are added to consumer accounts, both the new signer and the existing signers must sign a new signature card for the account. Signature cards sometimes double as account agreements, but the cards are principally used to verify signatures on large-dollar checks. The 2001 USA Patriot Act requires financial institutions to record the name, Social Security number, date of birth, physical address and primary form of ID for each new customer. Acceptable forms of ID are normally limited to passports or state-issued driver's licenses or ID cards.
Banks must gather the same information needed for additions to personal accounts when people are added to business accounts or business documents. A sole proprietor can add a spouse to an account without needing to provide any additional documentation. If signers are added to corporate accounts, the business must provide the financial institution with an updated corporate resolution. General partnerships must provide the financial institution with an updated partnership agreement whenever partners are added or removed. Other entities such as associations must furnish the bank with an updated membership resolution.
Customers may decide to add pay-on-death, or POD, beneficiaries to their accounts to prevent the accounts from going through probate. As POD beneficiaries have no signing rights, they don't have to sign signature cards or even go to the bank when the account owner adds them. The account owner must provide the bank with the name, date of birth and Social Security number for each beneficiary being added. For convenience, banks may also request POD beneficiaries' addresses.
People who establish trusts can, in certain circumstances, add the name of the entity to their existing accounts. Irrevocable trusts normally have separate taxpayer identification numbers, or TINs, in which case banks can't add them to existing accounts. However, revocable trusts are often established under the Social Security number of the person creating the trust. Because the TINs are the same, financial institutions can add these trusts to existing accounts. The same applies to marital trusts in certain circumstances, but rules vary from state to state.