Glossary - Joint/Survivor Bank Account

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Joint/Survivor Bank Account

Many people set up joint bank accounts with a spouse or another close family member or friend. If the bank account shared with another has a “right of survivorship” clause, it typically serves as evidence of a gift of the remaining money in the account to the surviving person on the account. Therefore it is not an asset of the estate and the contents of the account cannot be passed through a will. In this way, it would be like a non-probate asset. Many states, though, allow evidence during the probate process that the creation of a joint account was merely for convenience purposes and no gift of the remaining funds in the account was intended. If the probate court agrees, then the account’s assets would be part of the estate and could pass to the beneficiaries.