Whether you’re a parent and child, a couple, or business partners, figuring out exactly who paid for what and how much is owed to whom is a hassle. Joint bank accounts simplify life by letting people share the same bank account.
A joint account is a bank account held by at least two people. All joint account holders have the right to use the money as they best see fit, and if one holder of a dually held joint account dies the account belongs solely to the other holder.
Joint bank accounts are just as easy to open as regular accounts and are are useful in a variety of situations. Parents can fund and track their children’s expenses by opening a joint account with them. Couples can pay shared bills with a joint checking account or unite all their finances with a joint savings account. The elderly can hold joint accounts with their heirs so that their money is immediately available to heirs upon their death instead of being slowly administered through a will.
Opening a joint bank account has disadvantages, though. One partner in the account can legally withdraw all the money and close the account, so joint accounts require trust. And every penny in the joint account can be seized by creditors if one holder declares bankruptcy.
The above describes the most common form of joint account, legally known as a “joint account with rights of survivorship” (JTWROS). The other typical joint account type, primarily used by business partners, is called a “tenancy in common” (TIC), where restrictions can be placed on withdrawals and a deceased partner’s portion of the account is administered through his or her estate.
Most banks provide joint accounts, but few bank websites clearly indicate this until you begin the account application. So in addition to helping you compare banks based on their proximity, fees, no-ATM-fees policies, free online bill pay, and more, BankFox continually scours bank websites to determine which banks let customers open a joint account. BankFox’s savings account and checking account pages have the most up-to-date information, but below are a few examples of banks with joint accounts:
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