Joint Bank Account
In many circumstances as people age, they may require assistance with banking and the payment of bills. In this regard, the bank may require that the caregiver be added to the bank account for ease of access and to assist with the banking. It is important to note that if the primary account holder passes away, one must determine whether the account is a “true joint account” or some form of account for convenience.
What is a true joint account?
A true joint account is one in which the deceased intended the funds to flow directly to the joint account holder for their sole benefit. If the joint account holder is added to the account for convenience only, the account would not be a true joint account and therefore the funds within the account should be given to the Estate Trustee to be distributed in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.
Intentions are not always transparent
As the deceased’s intentions are not always transparent after death, it is important to ensure that the joint account holder understands the intention of the deceased at the time of setting up the account and further that the joint account holder appreciates that the funds form part of the deceased’s estate.
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