Joint Account with Child May Backfire

Studio portrait of a senior couple jokingly choking each other while looking at the camera.

Designating one of your children as the joint holder of your bank account may create problems.

It is typically better to use a Minnesota Durable Power of Attorney document to enable the child to write checks and to take other actions on your behalf during your senior years instead of creating the jointly held account.

Why? A jointly held account may place your carefully crafted estate plan in jeopardy.

Your Will may declare that your children are to inherit your assets equally. However, your Will covers only “probate assets”.  Jointly held assets are not considered probate assets.

Therefore, when you die, likely only the child named as the joint holder on your bank account will inherit that account. Your other children typically won’t inherit a share of the bank account, which may trigger hurt feelings and a family fight.

Banks sometimes encourage jointly held accounts even if the customer already has a Durable Power of Attorney document. Insist that the bank honor the Power of Attorney document instead.

An estate planning attorney can help you prepare a Durable Power of Attorney that is valid in Minnesota.

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Bonnie Wittenburg, Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC, 601 Carlson Parkway, Suite 1050, Minnetonka, MN 55305         952-649-9771     bonnie@bwittenburglaw.com   www.bwittenburglaw.com