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What happens if I have a joint bank account with someone who died?

It depends on how you and the joint owner decided to hold the account. The money could pass to you, or it could pass to the other owner’s heirs.

You can look up the details in your account agreement, or ask your bank or credit union for the information.

What are common ways to hold a joint bank account?

Most joint bank or credit union accounts are held with “rights of survivorship.” This means that when one account owner dies, the money passes to the surviving owner, or equally to the rest of the owners if there are multiple people on the account. Or, the account could be titled as “tenants in common.” This means that after the death of one of the owners, that person’s share of the account passes to their heirs, either as described in their will or per their state’s laws.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporate (FDIC) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) have detailed information about how federal deposit insurance applies to bank and credit union accounts after the death of a joint account holder. See the FDIC’s online guide and the NCUA’s questions and answers for more information.