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Risks of Using Joint Accounts

Estate and Trust Planning Attorneys in Clearwater Florida

Many individuals turn to joint accounts as a way to avoid probate. The advantages of using a joint account may be that they are relatively easy to set up and upon the death of one of the joint account holders, the other joint account holders can seamlessly take over the account without court involvement or other expensive steps. However, a St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer can explain to you that there may be many downsides and risks to a joint account as well that may offset any benefits to potentially avoiding probate.

Types of Risks of Using Joint Accounts

There are many risks associated with using joint accounts that a St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer can tell you about. Some of the common risks include:

  • You Lose Control of the Assets. Once you open a joint account, you should understand that the other joint account holders can withdraw and use the money in the account.
  • You May Be Subject to Creditors of Other Account Holders. Because your other account holders can access your account for their personal finances, the assets in the account may be subject to any creditors of the joint account holders. This includes losing the assets to a bankruptcy proceeding involving a joint account holder.
  • You May Lose the Assets in a Divorce Proceeding (Even If You’re Not Married). Just as the creditors of your joint account holders may reach your assets, so may the spouses of your joint account holders in any divorce proceeding.
  • Capital Gains/Tax Implications. If your accounts have big capital gains property, a St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer can explain that you may lose the ability to get a full basis adjustment on the property upon death.

Contact a St. Petersburg Estate Planning Lawyer

If you have a question about joint accounts and estate planning, you will want to contact an experienced attorney. There may be several options available to avoiding or minimizing your probate costs. Request a consultation with an attorney at the Coleman Law Firm by calling 727-461-7474 to learn the best options available to you.

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