"Jointly and Severally"

In the context of powers of attorney, "Jointly and Severally" means that

  • any one of the Attorneys can sign a document or dispose of an asset without the signature of the other(s), OR
  • every Attorney can sign.

The ability to act "jointly and severally" affords flexibility. It becomes their choice as to whether they all want to sign or just have one of them sign. It makes signing very convenient.

"Jointly" (without "and Severally") means that every named Attorney acting "jointly" must all act unanimously, for eg, they must all attend a bank to sign/authorize (ie the second bullet above).

As for wills, executors and trustees may only be ranked or act jointly.

Disclaimer: This article does not contain legal advice and only provides general information. It does not establish a lawyer-client relationship. You should consult with a lawyer before you rely on this information.

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Winnie J Luk, BA, JD, MBA, founder of Landmark Law, is a seasoned Ontario lawyer practicing in Wills and Estates, Real Estate, and Business Law and frequent speaker of free legal education seminar.