If one joint account holder dies, what are the rights of the surviving account holder?

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If one joint account holder dies, what are the rights of the surviving account holder?

My father-in-law had a Will and named his children as his heirs. HIs girlfriend was joint on his bank account and took out all of his savings ($20,000). Is there a case to be made to retrieve the money?

Asked on May 11, 2013 under Estate Planning, Oregon

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  You hail from the state of Oregon, correct?  It is my understanding that in the state of Oregon when one of the account holders dies, the survivors get the balance unless it can be proven that the account holders intended otherwise or that the deceased account holder was incapacitated at the time the account was created. So if you an prove that the intent was otherwise then the joint accounts are treated as held proportionately by the joint holders based on the ratio of contributions. If each contributes half, each owns half. This rule can be changed only by proving to the court that the account holders intended something different, and the person claiming a different intent has to provide evidence showing a high probability of that intent.  Seek legal help here.  Good luck.


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