If my wife passed away 2 months ago, do I have the legal right to close our joint account before her estate is settled?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If my wife passed away 2 months ago, do I have the legal right to close our joint account before her estate is settled?

She has another in just her name, which is being held until her estate is settled.

Asked on October 14, 2015 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If someone owns an account jointly with someone else, then after one of them dies, then typically the surviving co-owner will automatically become the account&rsquos owner. The account will not need to go through probate before it can be transferred to the survivor. This is because most bank accounts that are held in the names of 2 people carry with them what&rsquos called the &ldquoright of survivorship&rdquo. This means that after a co-owner dies, the surviving owner automatically becomes the sole owner of all the funds. In such an event, the surviving account holder need only to present a death certificate to have the deceased's name removed from the account.
Note The surviving account holder should keep in mind that the money in the account could be subject to federal estate or state inheritance tax.
 


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption