It is the legislation: energy of legal professional helps with funds | Native information
Q: I am a widow with three sons. The new account lady at my bank strongly recommends that I write my son’s name on my bank account so that he can write checks if necessary and that the account does not have to be tested if I die. Is this a good idea?
A: No – not, unless you know the legal ramifications and do it in a way to avoid problems.
Simply adding his name to the account would likely be construed as giving your son a current stake in half of the account. Half of the account can be lost if your son goes bankrupt, has other financial difficulties, or potentially has marital problems.
Having access to the account can be beneficial for your son if you trust him and want to help him with your finances. The safest way to do this, however, is to give it a power of attorney. If you include his name on the account, it is important to use the words “(son’s name) on account only” on the signature card to make it clear that he has no ownership interest. It would also be helpful if he signed a separate declaration on this.
Disputes over entitlement to shared accounts in the event of death are the most common legal issue I have encountered in the estate. The person whose name is on the account can claim to receive the balance of the account regardless of what the will says. The other heirs can request that this account be transferred to the estate. Some people intend an account to go to said common party, but others intend to put it under the will. In Idaho, there is a strong presumption that the middle name in the account will not pass to that person if the other party dies. This differs from the assumption in many other states. Unfortunately, it can take an expensive legal process to try to determine the testator’s intentions.
The best way to determine the disposal of the joint account is in your will. The will can also cover the contingency of where the account should go if that person passed away before you. If you definitely want an account to go to a specific person in the event of death, regardless of your will, you can hand over the account to that person with a death identifier.
By following these steps, you can make it convenient for your son to write checks on the account while avoiding the potential legal costs and divisions that could arise in an account dispute after your death between the party party and the other heirs of your estate .
Robert E. Farnam is an attorney in Idaho Falls. This column is provided by the 7th District Bar Association as a public service. Send questions to It’s the Law, PO Box 50130, Idaho Falls, ID 83405, or email [email protected]. This column is for general information. Readers with specific legal questions should consult an attorney. A lawyer referral service is available by calling the Idaho State Bar Association in Boise at 208-334-4500.