Understanding joint accounts

Do you have joint accounts with your children, either at banks or investment firms? The policies of individual institutions may be very different from the terms and conditions that you signed for your account, and what you envision as a very simple process on your passing, may not be. Make sure you have, in writing, a detailed outline of what will be required for the joint tenant to take ownership of the account.

Do you have joint accounts with your children, either at banks or investment firms?  The policies of individual institutions may be very different from the terms and conditions that you signed for your account, and what you envision as a very simple process on your passing, may not be.  Make sure you have, in writing, a detailed outline of what will be required for the joint tenant to take ownership of the account.

You should also check that your account is registered according to your wishes. There are two types of joint registration: “joint with right of survivorship” and “tenants in common”, with decidedly different outcomes.

Notwithstanding how simple you think your wishes are, if your joint owner is to be one of your children, and there are other children, please do not proceed with joint ownership without appropriate advice.

In a nutshell, here’s my advice regarding the above. If an account is to be joint, document your wishes in a separate letter or form, properly witnessed or notarized. If you have special circumstances where you wish to make different arrangements for your children, consider discussing segregated funds with your advisor. Segregated funds bypass your estate, and provide for private settlement of financial matters, unlike a probated will, which is a public document.

 

 

 

Judy Poole is a financial advisor with Raymond James, and has spent the last 39 years involved in the financial industry. You can reach her at judy.poole@raymondjames.ca. This article is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment advice.  The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James Ltd. Securities offered through Raymond James Ltd., member – Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Financial planning and insurance offered through Raymond James Financial Planning Ltd., not a member – Canadian Investor Protection Fund.