Texas residents working out probate & estate/administration and planning find that joint ownership can be a double-edge sword. On the one hand, this setup enables loved ones to step in and handle your assets if you find that you can no longer do so. However, there are risks for you and your loved ones, too.
Co-ownership trumps will content
If you put your good friend and neighbor down as a co-owner of your checking account, they inherit any money that is in the account when you die. Even though you might have planned to transfer the balance to a child or grandchild, the co-owner now has legal sole ownership. This is the case even if you make a different stipulation in your will.
You are at each other’s mercy
Document collection, preservation, and organization are at the heart of successful probate & estate/administration and planning. Another element is common sense. Because you and the other person are co-owners, you have the same rights. If you get to a point where you do not trust yourself to make financial decisions, someone might try to swindle you out of your money. You can still access the funds. Alternatively, someone might attempt to swindle the other person.
The joint account is an asset for either co-owner
If the person you tapped for co-ownership gets in financial trouble, creditors can access your money. You may find that your nest egg will pay for someone else’s debts and bad spending habits. Even if you had different plans for the money, creditors could have the right to seize it because of the co-ownership status.
Expert probate & estate/administration and planning could be something you might consider discussing with an attorney for your protection.