Problems with joint accounts on the death of one of the account holders
Courtesy: Michael Casserly (Management Committee and Sligo branch)
There have been situations where individuals, although having authority to draw money from an account, were then denied access to the account on the death of the account holder.
To avoid this:
1. A ‘Joint Account’ should have the names of all parties recorded in the bank and all names should appear on any bank statements. The fact that one can sign cheques/draw money from an account does not indicate that it is a Joint Account.
2. All parties should meet with the bank to discuss the situation should any of the account holders die.
3. It may be best to give the bank a written instruction, signed by all parties, setting out their wishes. e.g. if Mr X dies then Mrs X is to be allowed access to all the funds in Account ref. no. 123
It appears that the freezing of bank accounts on a death is not uncommon. Reversing the decision speedily may not be that easy. In addition the relationship between the holders of the account can cause further delay e.g. two brothers, cousins etc.