As our parents and other relatives advance in years and their mobility deteriorates, it is often close family relatives that take on the role of providing additional help and care.
Such help can often involve weekly shopping trips or providing a taxi service to social or medical appointments. To cover the cost of this additional help, an elderly relative may agree for a bank account that they hold to be put into joint names so that easier access to their funds can be achieved in order to cover the cost of the volunteer.
Difficulties with this arrangement can come to a head on the passing of the elderly relative. Banks frequently advise that the proceeds of the account will pass to the surviving joint account holder. However, this is frequently not the original intention of the account holder nor other potential beneficiaries to the deceased’s estate. This can, of course, cause issues during the probate process. Our team of contested Wills and probate solicitors are well-versed in dealing with joint operations regarding bank accounts and the disputes that can sometimes arise.
Establishing final ownership of an account may involve an investigation into the true intentions of the parties at the time the account was placed in joint names and the purpose for which any amounts in the account were used.
Any person considering making a relative a joint account holder and anyone approached to be a joint account holder should document in some way the true intention of the account holder and contributor particularly with regard to the use of the funds, how they are to be applied during lifetime and perhaps most importantly upon death.
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