You have to be very careful about buying into homespun notions that people who are in-the-know would never even remotely consider. With this in mind let’s take a look at the unintended consequences that can come about if you decide to add someone to your bank account or accounts thinking that this is a way to transfer assets.
First of all, the minute that you add someone to a joint account this person has just as much access and ownership as you do. So you better be extremely certain that this individual will never do anything that you would not approve of with the funds.
In addition to intentional dishonesty there are other things to take into consideration. Elder financial abuse is a big problem these days and many of our seniors fall victim to it. If your co-account holder was to become one of them you could suffer the consequences.
And then there is the matter of incapacity to one extent or another. If your co-account holder was to become a bit unreliable when it comes to sound decision-making anything could happen with these funds.
Lastly, what about creditors or claimants? Anyone who was seeking satisfaction from your co-account holder could seek to attach the funds in the joint account.
The intelligent course of action is to simply sit down and discuss your situation with a good estate planning lawyer. The minimal expense involved is well worth it when you consider the value of preserving and protecting your legacy.
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