Accessing an Elderly Parent’s Bank Account With Siblings
Money’s the most significant reason adult siblings will fight over their Elderly Parent’s Bank Account. Joint bank accounts can undoubtedly lead to disagreements. If one of the siblings is a primary caregiver or might help their aging parents manage the finances and pay their bills, it could seem reasonable for them choose to set up a joint account.
Siblings might choose to question how and why money is being spent. They might accuse the joint account holder, sibling, of financial abuse, especially if the funds appear to be misappropriated. Parents should always be mindful of what they may set their children up for.
In families with numerous children, a joint checking account with one child has consequences regarding an inheritance. In most states, upon the death of a parent, the money in the joint account will automatically go to the child whose name is on the account with the parent. Therefore, this disinherits the other children. Because joint accounts are usually held with survivorship rights, this means ownership would pass automatically from the deceased to their survivor.
However, a joint account might preclude the need for probate in the case of your loved one’s death, no matter when in time, the account might have been established. Therefore, this means the child that’s on the shared account would receive all money in the account, to the exclusion of others.
The FDIC guide to joint bank accounts provides a possible solution: “While most joint accounts are held with rights of survivorship, in rare instances joint account owners are ‘tenants in common,’ which means ownership does not necessarily pass from decedent to survivor. Instead, each co-owner can bequeath his or her share of the account to whomever he or she chooses.” This provision will enable the aging parent to assign their share of the account to a separate child, ensuring it’s split evenly.
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