If one person on a joint checking account dies, can the other account holder close the account?

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If one person on a joint checking account dies, can the other account holder close the account?

Father dies; I am his daughter.

Asked on February 2, 2011 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Did your Father add you to his account as a precaution in case something happened or was it a true joint account?  The rules governing joint ownership of bank accounts with family members other than a spouse are complicated and somewhat dependent on individual state laws.  It may be in your best interest to speak with an attorney in your area.  There are also potential Federal tax liabilities depending on how one looks at the money: gift, income, and estate taxes.  So I would not close the account until you have spoken with an estate attorney on the matter.  You do not want to get in to trouble. Good luck. 


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