If two or more people wish to combine their finances and share access to a single account, they can open a joint account. Business partners, parents and children, married couples or cohabiting couples will often choose joint accounts. The joint account with rights of survivorship is the most common type, and allows assets to pass to the surviving party in case of the death of one party. Both joint accounts holders are equally responsible for bounced checks or overdrafts. In most states, turning a pre-marital bank account into a joint account places it under marital assets.
Before Opening a Joint Account
Opening a joint bank account means entrusting another person with your finances, but can make handling finances simpler. Should you have any doubts regarding the future of your relationship, bank accounts should probably be kept separate. You should also be sure the person you are considering opening a joint account with has a solid credit history. If they owe large amounts of money on loans or other debt it could be wise to keep your accounts separate. Both parties in a joint account are held equally liable for any debt. Should you enter into a joint account with another person, it should be with the understanding that they will always have the right to use the money in the account. Joint accounts should be limited to people whom you consider completely trustworthy.
Additional Help & Resources on Joint Accounts
If you have questions regarding the legal issues involved in a joint account, you should call San Diego probate attorney Alex Scheingross at 858-792-5988 or consult an experienced lawyer in your area.