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How do joint bank accounts work?

If I have a joint bank account with my dad what happens when he dies?
Status: Open    Sep 09, 2014 - 03:24 AM


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Jul 10, 2015 - 09:44 AM

When your father passes away, the joint bank account becomes yours by operation of law. This means that it passes directly to you outside of probate, estate or trust administration. All assets which are owned jointly or have designated beneficiaries (such as IRAs, annuities and life insurance policies) supersede a person’s will or trust. It is important to understand the distinction when titling assets and engaging in estate planning.

Jul 14, 2015 - 11:15 AM

If you have a joint bank account with your dad, you are a co-owner of the account and have full and equal access to the funds in the account. After dad dies, the account becomes your account and you will be able to access the funds without the necessity of opening a probate estate.

Sep 30, 2015 - 10:21 AM

In addition to the other answers, you did not mention whether you have other siblings who might stand to inherit from his estate. If so, if he puts your name on the account, it will become yours alone when he passes. Parents often do not consider this when they add an adult child to make things 'easy'. Also, if you have children who may be eligible for financial aid for college, or any type of asset based aid, the amount in the joint account is counted as yours. It could disqualify you for aid. A power of attorney is sometimes a better way to go.

Sep 30, 2015 - 12:32 PM

Joint bank accounts sound better than they may work. When Dad dies, that account belongs to the joint owner – no matter what Dad’s will says. It does avoid probate, but that may not be Dad’s wishes as to the dispositioin of that account. Also, adding another name to a joint account also exposes that account to the new owner’s potential creditors.

Oct 01, 2015 - 09:58 AM

An account that is jointly owned means that upon the death of one party, it automatically passes to the other party by operation of law. This is what is known as a testamentary substitute and would transfer without a probate in court. This would control over what is stated in a person's will. Therefore you should be sure you have the appropriate overall plan in place and an estate planning attorney could help there.
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