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Trust and Estates Attorneys

Probate in Joint Accounts New York

A joint account has very little to do with probate. A joint account customarily goes to the survivor of the two people that are named with the joint account, the right of survivorship. When jointly owned property includes a right of survivorship, the surviving owner automatically absorbs the dying owner’s share of the property. Upon the death of one of the two account holders, the survivor gains the full account. This can be accessed by delivering a death certificate to the bank, securities firm, or whoever holds the joint account.

As the surviving joint owner, once you take over sole ownership of the account you will be responsible for different aspects the deceased joint owner was responsible for. A person who has a joint account with a deceased person should contact an experienced New York probate lawyer today to avoid any confusion as to the status of any accounts where someone claims that the account was not entitled to go to the survivor.

Maintaining a Joint Account

A person gains access to a joint account even before they probate a will. The primary thing needed in these instances is a death certificate. However, if both parties are deceased, in other words, when the person dies and the other person on the joint account died previously, the account passes under the second person’s estate and it must go through probate or administration. The survivor owns the property in a joint account after a person dies.

Usually, there are no issues that must be addressed before funds are accessed. Sometimes, if a person sets up a convenience account with a child so they can write checks and then the parent dies, the child might claim to have inherited the balance of the account. However, another child may claim that the account was not intended to be a survivorship situation, it was intended just to be for convenience.

Contacting an Attorney

New York has two types of joint accounts, survivorship right account and convenience account. The correct use of a convenience account is for the parent to give a child the power of attorney to write checks on the account. That way the account does not become the child’s account upon the death of the parent. If you have a joint account with a deceased person, you should contact a New York probate lawyer today to best understand the status of any accounts where someone claims the account was not entitled to go to the survivor.