A bank account held jointly by spouses has many benefits – one being convenience. It enables both parties to deposit or withdraw monies in accordance with any guidelines set by the account. The pairing may choose to hold a primary joint account that is used to pay bills with ease, and to hold additional accounts in each of their individual names – and that is fair, but if the intent is to avoid probate altogether, this may not be functional.
If spouses hold a bank account jointly and one spouse passes away, the surviving joint owner will automatically obtain the deceased person’s share. This is known as a survivorship right, and it could facilitate the bypass of probate, but only if ALL assets are held jointly.
If not ALL of assets are held jointly by spouses, the accounts held in any one person’s name will form a part of the residue of their estate. If their spouse is the primary beneficiary on their Will, the spouse will still inherit the funds, but they will likely be required to submit a probate application of the Will to collect in the assets.
If you need held determining what will happen to your property when you die, call our experienced Wills and Estates lawyers today. Remember, we are here to help!