Can a joint bank account be considered as part of an estate? 31 Answers as of January 28, 2014

My second husband passed away in November. He had no assets (car, house in my name only), but we had a joint checking account. Is it necessary to set up an estate for him?

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Donais Law Offices, PLLC
Donais Law Offices, PLLC | Craig Donais
A joint account is not part of an estate. By definition, the account passes to the survivor of the two owners.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 1/28/2014
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
No. Since it is a joint account it passes to you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2014
MCBRIDE LAW OFFICE | Robert E. McBride
If you and your second husband were joint owners with right of survivorship then his 50% interest in the account should have passed to you automatically by operation of law and would not be an asset of his probate estate. On the other hand, if the two of you owned the account as tenants in common, his interest would not transfer to you automatically and would be an asset of his probate estate. The bank should be able to help straighten things out.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 1/28/2014
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
So long as the joint account was a true joint tenancy with the account going to the survivor then no probate is necessary. Nor would a probate be necessary, even if the joint account had no automatic provisions, if the his share of the account was worth less than $150,000 .
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2014
Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
If the account is truly "joint", it belongs to the joint owner upon the death of the other owner. The bank will likely need only proof of death.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 1/28/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    No. Show his death certificate to the bank.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    The Troglin Firm | William M. Troglin
    A joint bank account (checking or savings) is the property of the surviving account holder and it never makes it into the estate of the decedent. If he had no other assets as you stated then there is nothing to probate or administer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    No. If you were joint owner of the account, the account is now all yours without any further action. You can take all the money in the account and put it in another account in your name.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    No, if your name was on the account, it is a joint account and the money in the account is yours to keep.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    No. Joint assets pass to the surviving joint tenant, upon death.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    No. But you may want to speak with an estate attorney to address liability for bill. Most will offer a free or discounted consolation.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    No there is no need to set up an estate for him. If there are not specific circumstances to that account (the bank can answer that question for you), you are now the owner of the account. I suggest you take a certified copy of his death certificate to the bank to remove his name from the account.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    No, you are deemed co-tenants of the account and the one surviving now has sole ownership.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    It doesn't sound like it.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Joint accounts pass to the survivor on death. If truly a joint account you do not need to open probate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    A joint account normally passes to the surviving owner without probate. Usually the bank only requires a death certificate and they will do the paperwork to transfer the account to your name.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    No, you are the sole owner of the account after he passes. You do not have to go to court.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    No, if you are on the account then you have access to that money.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Meister & McCracken Law Firm, PLLC | Joanne M. McCracken
    That depends on the amount in the account. You should speak with a probate attorney if there were substantial funds in the account; however, as a general rule those funds become yours by operation of law.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    A joint account with rights of survivorship would become the assets of the survivor upon the death of the other joint tenant. Such an asset would not be part of an estate unless it could be shown that the Joint Tenancy nature of the was merely for convenience purposes and not intended to confer ownership. Since you are the spouse and the assets in the account were undoubtedly marital assets such a proof would be very difficult.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    David Kass | David Kass
    If he has absolutely no other assets no car nopers prop, no house, no ret. Plans, than no.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    If the account is an "or" account, you won't have to do anything. You will have full access.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 1/28/2014
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    In Missouri, a joint account by operation of law goes to the survivor. There is no need to open up an estate.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/28/2014
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