Can the co-account holder of a joint account still have access if the other account holder pass away? 22 Answers as of July 29, 2013

I have a joint checking account with my mother and she passed away a couple a days ago and is this now her estate? Will the creditors be entitled to it? Can I, in the mean time pay my bills because this is my only source of funds?

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Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
You can use the money since you are an owner of the account. You may want to withdraw he funds so none of her creditors cannot get access to them.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/29/2013
Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
Those are your funds by right of survivorship; spend them as you deire.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/24/2013
Noel Law Firm | Elizabeth V. Noel
As the joint owner you should have full access to the account. Upon her death, you should became the sole owner of the account. Check with your bank for further details.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 7/24/2013
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
If you are on the signature card at the bank you can access to the account. If not, you will have to go through probate to gain access to the account. Creditors will place claims against the estate so no they will not have automatic access to the account. The personal representative (a person named by the court to handle the estate) will have the responsibility. As co-owner of the account, it should not go into the estate, because the co-owner automatically has rights to the funds.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/24/2013
Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
I am sorry for your recent loss. If the account is a joint account, the money is now yours free of your mother's creditors.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/23/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    It depends on your Mom's intent. If all the funds in the account are your Mom's, and she put you on the account for her convenience, then really you should treat it as her money and satisfy her creditors out of it. If she put you on the account intending a gift to you, then it is your money. Note that if one of the creditors is the State of Oregon, they have a bigger hammer than other creditors, and are more likely to collect from you to the extent you inherit from her.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    If the account is a joint account with right of survivorship (and not tenants in common) the surviving owner owns the entire account and it belongs to him/her so he or she can do with it as he or she pleases.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    If this is a joint account it became your account upon your mother's death. A creditor could potentially try to access the account if the remaining assets of the estate are insufficient to pay creditors, but you can feel free to use the account.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Elliott Law Firm, PC | Michael K. Elliott
    I would need a little more information. If the account was held as Joint with Right of Survivorship, then the account passed to you by operation of law and it is your money. It does not pass to Mom's estate. If there is no survivorship rights, then it depends on the source of the funds in the account as to what direction it goes in. Based on the facts as given, I cannot determine that.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    You may be liable for your mother's bills if they are not paid. You should speak with an attorney to address the specifics before making payments.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Generally joint accounts become the sole property of the remaining joint holders at the time of another joint holders death. It is not part of the estate. Take part of the funds and speak with a lawyer so you know your rights and your duties. If you are in Michigan call to engage my firm and for an appointment, and with the rest of the factual details.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    It sounds like you are joint tenant. As such, the presumption in Michigan is that the account now belongs to you and that you have full access to it. Probate would not be necessary and the account would not be subject to creditor claims.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    It the joint owner's account unless it can be proven that it was an account of convenience, in other words your mother only added you to account to help her and it was all her money and you did not contribute to it. There is split opinion on this, so 50% hold that it is joint owners account and 50% believe it is estate property if only an account of convenience.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    If the money belonged to your mother, and she just put your name on the account as a convenience, it is part of her estate, and subject to claims by her creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    As a joint tenant, once the other party dies, you alone retain what is in the account. If the estate lacks the funds to pay the creditors, they may challenge your ownership and request that the funds be used to pay them (unlikely).
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    The account will pass to the joint owner outside of probate. However, please be careful, if funds are deposited by a retirement plan or another source for her benefit, do not assume they are automatically yours.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Sanford M. Martin, P.A. | Sanford M. Martin
    Yes, the joint holder of the account becomes the sole holder of the account and has access as the only owner. It is rare for such accounts to have provisions otherwise. May this information help you to understand legal options,
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    If the account is actually a joint tenancy account, it belongs to you at the instant of death. For more detailed information consult with an attorney specializing in estate administration.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    The money is technically yours. Can the creditor's try to go after it, yes. Will they be successful, probably not, but you might want to save some just in case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    If the account has survivorship rights, then the money is yours.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    If it is an account held jointly, then you have every right to the funds.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/23/2013
    Arthur H. Geffen, P.C.
    Arthur H. Geffen, P.C. | Arthur Geffen
    If you are a joint tenant with rights of survivorship, then the money is yours. If you are just a co-signer and it was your mother's money that went into the account, it belongs to your mother's estate.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/23/2013
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