Who gets the money left in a joint account if one if the account holders dies?

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Who gets the money left in a joint account if one if the account holders dies?

My mother has an account in her and my name only. Upon her death do I have control of this money? Does this money remain with me or the state?

Asked on May 2, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

How is the account held - as tenants in common or as joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS)?  If it as tenants in common, when your mother dies her share passes to her estate; you have no rights to it outright (although you may get all or a portion of this money when her estate is settled).  However, if you hold title as JTWROS, then upon your mother's passing, you will become the sole owner of the account and all money in it.  The general rule is that the survivor will be able to withdraw the funds by giving the bank a death certificate.  There may or may not be the need to provide something additional documentation to the probate court.  Since there arespecific  procedures to follow, you should contact the institution in which the account is being held. It can best instruct you as to the process for withdrawing the funds.


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