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Estate Planning Law

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Should I Use A Joint Account For Help In Writing Checks?

No. Some people will place a child or someone else on a checking account as a joint tenant to help them write checks to assure that bills are paid in the event the original owner is unable to do so. Upon the original owner`s death, the entire account will belong to the other person; other heirs will not share in it. Oral understandings about what is to be done with the account balance upon death are frequently misunderstood and often forgotten. Furthermore, the surviving joint tenant may be subject to gift tax liability if he or she attempts to share the funds in the account with other intended heirs after the original owner`s death. Anyone with a concern or needing help in this area should see their lawyer about a durable power of attorney or place a trusted person on the account as agent.