If a co-owner of a checking account dies, what happens to the money?

UPDATED: Apr 30, 2011

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If a co-owner of a checking account dies, what happens to the money?

There are 3 people are listed on a checking account.; 1 of them has died. How is the money distributed if the account has “survivor” listed besides  names?

Asked on April 30, 2011 under Estate Planning, Virginia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In the case of joint account holders holding title as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship" (JTWROS), upon the death of 1 of the parties to the account, the surviving party (or parties) become the sole owner(s); so in your case the 2 remaining account holders would each be entitled to  a 1/2 share of the funds in the account   The general rule is that the survivor(s) will be able to withdraw the funds in the account by giving the bank a death certificate.  There may or may not be the need to provide anything from the probate court (it may depend on the surviving joint tenants are related to the deceased account holder). At any rate there are state specific procedures to follow, so you should contact the institution in which the account is being held in. It can best instruct you as to the process for withdrawing the funds.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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