TN 14 (08-23)

GN 00603.015 Foreign Bank Account Legends

A. Policy

Funds not needed for the day-to-day expenses of a beneficiary living outside of the United States (U.S.) must be conserved for their future use by the representative payee. The funds may be deposited in a bank account. That account must show that the payee has only a fiduciary interest in the funds. For more information, see GN 02402.055.

B. Procedure

Foreign savings accounts do not always follow the formats that are common in the U.S. Legends may differ in situations where the payee is a court-appointed guardian, conservator, friend, or relative and may even vary from country to country.

The following is a list of countries and a brief description of the types of accounts available which meet Social Security requirements as specified in GN 00603.010. If there is a question about whether a legend is acceptable in a country not listed, and the question cannot be resolved by contact with the Foreign Service Post (FSP), submit the question to the Office of International Programs (OIP).


The common legend is “(name of payee) as trustee for (name of beneficiary).”


The passbook will show “(name of beneficiary) represented by (name of representative payee).” The payee should provide the bank with a signature sample when the account is opened. This will establish that only the payee is authorized to withdraw funds from the account. This is necessary since, under Austrian law and banking regulations, anyone who presents a passbook on a savings account may draw on that account.


A payee must have a power of attorney executed by the beneficiary or be appointed by court order if they wish to open a savings account in the name of the beneficiary. The account would show only the beneficiary's name with a copy of the power of attorney or court order attached. Upon request, however, specific instructions regarding the beneficiary and the payee may be typed into the passbook.


Bulgarian banking regulations do not provide for joint or trust accounts. Accounts may show one name to reflect ownership of the funds. Therefore, accounts established in the name of the beneficiary only are acceptable. If the account belongs to an incompetent person for whom a legal guardian has not been appointed, the individual who cares for them could withdraw funds if they have a specific power of attorney, a copy of which is retained by the bank and FSP.


Standard practice is to show “(name of representative payee) for (name of beneficiary).”


Surplus funds are always put into accounts established in the name of the beneficiary only. The payee's name will not be shown.


An account may be established in accordance with the legends shown in GN 00603.010. The FSP should be advised to make proper arrangements with the individual banks.


Same as GN 00603.010.


The common legend is “(name of representative payee) for (name of beneficiary).” When a court-appointed payee is involved, the legend would normally be “(name of beneficiary) by (name of representative payee).”

Hong Kong

Same as GN 00603.010, with variations such as “(name of payee) in trust for (name of beneficiary) and (name of payee) for account of (name of beneficiary).” A beneficiary may open an account in their own name and execute a power of attorney to empower a payee to operate the account.


Same as GN 00603.010.


Same as GN 00603.010. The FSP should be advised to submit to the bank a formal request authorizing establishment of the account for the beneficiary. In addition, certain banks normally establish an account in the name of the representative payee without reference to the beneficiary. The bank regards funds in such an account as property of the payee. Do not establish an account in such a bank, but rather one which meets SSA requirements.


Same as GN 00603.010 or a separate account which is in the name of the beneficiary only, not the representative payee.


Savings accounts are offered by both the Italian banking system and the Italian postal system. Where the representative payee is the legal guardian, an account with either system is acceptable as long as the existence of the legal guardianship is indicated on the account and the passbook. This would be shown as “(name of legal representative tutore legale di (name of beneficiary).” Where the payee is not also the legal guardian, the proper account would be a Postal Savings Account with Declared Representative — Desposito a Risparmio con Rappresentante Dichiarato.


Neither joint nor multiple name accounts are accepted by Japanese banks. Establish the account in the name of the beneficiary only.


Same as GN 00603.010.


Each bank uses a different format. Often, no wording appears on the passbook that indicates that the payee has only a fiduciary interest in the funds. If there is a question as to whether the bank treats the funds as belonging to the beneficiary, request clarification from the FSP.


Same as GN 00603.010.


Same as GN 00603.010.

New Zealand

Same as GN 00603.010, but only when the beneficiary is a child. If the beneficiary is an adult, the bank prefers that the owner of the funds (the beneficiary) issue a Letter of Authority to cover operation of the account by the payee.


There is no standard wording preferred for accounts in Norway. Therefore, the payee should be instructed to establish the account to reflect one of the acceptable legends shown in GN 00603.010.


Same as GN 00603.010.


The standard procedure is to establish the savings account in the name of the beneficiary only. Individuals such as a representative payee who is authorized to sign for the beneficiary are listed in the back of the passbook. The FSP normally forwards a copy of the book and the authorization page to INTPSC as a part of the development when a payee accounts for use of funds.


Same as GN 00603.010, but only for beneficiaries who have been declared legally incompetent by the court.


Savings accounts should be established in the name of the beneficiary only. The name of any other individual having the right to withdraw funds (e.g., representative payee) should be shown in the section of the savings book which lists conditions for withdrawal of funds.


Same as GN 00603.010.


Most passbooks list the name of the beneficiary only. Some passbooks list the name of the payee with the Turkish previx “Vasi” (guardian), but they do not have access to the account. Federal benefit checks are delivered personally by the FSP staff and passbooks are examined at that time.

United Kingdom

Same as GN 00603.010, but “(name of representative payee) re (name of beneficiary)” is also acceptable. It is recommended that at the time of the opening of an account for a beneficiary, the payee should make it clear that they have only a fiduciary interest in the funds. Some banks will require to see evidence of the appointment of the payee (a letter from the FSP will suffice) or evidence of appointment as legal guardian when a court appointment has been made.

West Germany

Many representative payees in Germany will be court-appointed guardians with passbooks showing the legend “(name of guardian) Pflegschaftskonto (in trust for) (name of beneficiary).” For a private individual or institutional representative payee; i.e., non-court-appointed, there is no special legend. Therefore, request that a legend similar to those shown in GN 00603.010 be used.


The FSP should be requested to advise the payee to establish accounts in the name of the beneficiary with the representative payee having power of attorney. The payee would be listed on the back page of the account book.

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GN 00603.015 - Foreign Bank Account Legends - 08/11/2023
Batch run: 08/11/2023