If your on a joint bank account andone of the co-ownersdies, who does that account belong to?

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If your on a joint bank account andone of the co-ownersdies, who does that account belong to?

There is a Will stating they want everything split equally.

Asked on July 13, 2011 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A Will controls assets that go through probate (i.e. all property, real and personal that are bequeathed in a Will). However some assets pass outside of the probate estate. A joint bank account would be one such asset. Consequently, as in your case, the Will has no bearing. Accordingly the account will pass to the other joint account holder(s). This happens automatically by operation of law. That's not to say that the remaining account holder(s) can't follow the wishes expressed in the Will; it's just that they are not legally bound to do so.

Note: If a survivng spouse is involved there may be specific state law reagrding her elction of certain assets. Anprobate attorney will need to be consulted.


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