Ask The Expert: Instead of talking to a lawyer, can I just put my daughter’s name on all of my bank accounts and not worry about it.

posted by: Alexis Martin Neely Personal Family Lawyer www.familywealthmatters.com

Putting your child’s name on your bank accounts may not be the best idea. It is true that your bank accounts won’t go through the probate process if your daughter is on title to your account with you, but there are some risks.

  • The first risk is that you and your daughter could be in an accident together. If that were the case, your bank accounts would still be subject to the court process.
  • The second risk is that your accounts could be at risk from your daughter’s potential creditors. In one case, we had a client who put her granddaughter on a bank account with her and the granddaughter’s husband was sued in a business matter and the judgment creditor attached grandma’s bank account and took out all the funds. This is a big risk you don’t want to take.

Your best bet would be to have your bank accounts owned in the name of a trust, or if you don’t have enough assets, that a trust would have them designated as Pay on Death or Transfer on Death to whoever you want them to go to. Furthermore, make sure you have a Durable Power of Attorney in place to allow your loved ones to get access to your accounts if you become incapacitated.

If you are uncertain whether you have enough assets to necessitate a trust, talk to a family lawyer in your State. Talking with a lawyer about your personal situation is really your best bet to make sure you’ve done everything the right way. There’s no downside to consulting with a lawyer and confirming you’ve done everything the right way.


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