April 3, 2018

Misconception of the Month for April-Rights to a Joint Bank Account

Misconception of the Month for April-Rights to the Joint Bank Account

In almost all divorce cases, spouses need to deal with their respective rights to and disposition of a bank account for which they are co-owners. Sometimes the issue results in conflict early, even before the legal case starts, when one spouses withdraws 100% of the account funds and refuses to voluntarily share the funds.  Contrary to what many divorcing people think, such a withdrawal is generally legal and permissible.  An experienced divorce lawyer can educate you more about the topic of joint bank accounts and divorce and especially how to plan if you are considering divorce.

Often too, questions and conflict arise when one of the owner’s dies, especially if the co-owners were not spouses.  Many people assume that if their name is on a bank account when the other named account owner dies, the funds in the account are automatically and without question the survivor’s to dispose of as they wish.  But as my estate planning colleagues at Czepiga Pope & Perri LLC explain in their February 22 blog, although the money typically will belong to the surviving account owner, there are times when the circumstances of a situation dictate otherwise.  See  their post at https://www.czepigalaw.com/blog/2018/02/22/joint-bank-accounts-gets-funds-co-owner-passes-away.

It’s important then to consult with your estate planning lawyer when you are preparing your will, creating your estate plan or even opening a new joint bank account.  And if you are the surviving non-spouse co-owner, it’s smart to consult with the estate’s lawyer before making substantial or unusual withdrawals from the joint account.

Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri can be reached at 860-259-1575 or via the website www.czepigalaw.com.

« Back to all news