Joint checking account.

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My mom put me as a joint holder on her checking account years ago and she passed way last November. My brother strongly suggested I close the account and move the $$ to another one. I did this for that reason and also I live across the country and there was no bank branch near me. Now my brother is saying I stole the funds in the joint account I had with my mom. She didn't have a will and never stated that it was to be divided (which I going to do anyway even though my brother is being vindictive against all siblings because he thought he should've been given my mom's house). Do these funds have to be part of the probate? Can he sue me or something? In all my reading, once a joint holder died, the account becomes the other joint holders. Thanks!!!


BTW, my mom lived in CA and so do all my other siblings. I live in IL.
Sorry....this should be in the Questions section. I'm moving it.
I'd check with your attorney to see what they have to say. In times like these, the last people you trust is your family. Unfortunately this is true.
No need to move this. You'll just end up with two threads with the same question which can be frustrating.

I went through what you are describing back in October of 2013. My step-siblings were aware that I was joint owner with my mother of her personal accounts and did not make an issue of my getting that money following her death.

There was not any need to close the joint account and move the $$ to another one because the account automatically became yours upon your mom's death.

Your brother is wrong, you did not steal the money from the joint account. They became yours. Either, he does not understand what a joint account is or he's a bully.

I'm so sorry that she did not have a will.

No, those funds from the joint account do not have to be part of the probate. They automatically went to you as the joint owner.

He may try to sue you, but a good lawyer would tell him that he does not have a case.

I'm going to post this to your wall in case you don't see this here.
At the moment your mom granted you joint ownership of her checking account, you became equal owner of those funds. There is no question that she chose to do this, so the money is Yours alone. If it were otherwise, she would not have chose to make you joint owner.
I don't know. My dad put my name in both his savings and checking account. When the employee asked me if I was a member, I said that I don't know. She looked into the account and said that it's my dad's account. But my name is on it - to deposit or withdraw funds only. His name is completely on the checkbook but my name is on the checking account. It was explained to me that although my name is on the account, the account belongs to my dad. He is the one to request for an ATM card, debit card, etc....

I have read on here that it's important if you have joint accounts to have 'rights of survivorship' or if the account was set up as 'pay on death' which the money will go directly to the beneficiary.

A friend of mine had her name in the same account with her mother. When her mother died, probate froze the joint account. This friend warned me that if you need money to help pay for the funeral, it's best to put aside some 'emergency' money. Probate lasted a year.
There are two types of bank account being discussed here.
One is owned by the account holder and a named person is added to it - the account still belongs to the originator who is ultimately responsible for the accoutn.
The second is where the originator decides that this should be a shared account and then both people 'own' the account so there is dual responsibility.
However in the UK upon death a challenge could be made if the accounts were shared after dementia set in. If your mum did it years ago I suspect that that money is yours and not subject to probate but it is always best to seek professional advice because as I understand it laws can change between states and what may be OK in one may not be in another.
Final comment - I am going to put a clause in my will that staes if there is any challenge made to my will then all the money and assets I possess must go to a donkey snactuary! taht will stop the flaming vultures from hovering hunting down every last penny as if it is their damned right
Jude, I hope you do that. It works! There is a wealthy family here. The patriarch built this popular money-making tourist hotel on the beach. When he died, his Will spread the wealth among ALL his adult children. Their income is solely from the interests of this hotel. In his Will, he said that he has divided this according to His wishes. If any of his heirs try to cheat the hotel (example, 'borrow' money from it, etc...) or try to go to court against the Will, they will Automatically be lose their inheritance. One son got greedy. He wanted more than just the interests. He got caught embezzling from the hotel. He was immediately cut off. And his portion was divvied among the remaining heirs. Since then, all the heirs are behaving.

That is the strangest treatment of a joint account by a probate. Someone must not have known what they were doing and for it to take a year to clear up was inexcusable.

From my understanding, when there is not a joint account, the account of the deceased is moved by the bank into an "the estate of ___" account from which the person executing the will pays funeral expenses, bills, etc. and disburses money upon the estate being settled. This account can't be created until the person executing the will presents a certified death certificate and a copy of the will to the bank.

I'm so sorry that your friend's joint account with her mother was frozen and frozen for a whole year.

A joint account with right of survivorship belongs to the primary owner, like my mom's, and they are liable to pay for taxes on the interest. That changes when they die and it becomes the secondary owner's account. When my mom's checks ran out, I ordered new checks with my name on them as well as hers since we were joint owners and had been before she gave me the POA.

That sounds like a different set up than what you have with your dad's account bookluvr.

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