Joint Accounts

Account Management

Joint Accounts

A joint account is a bank or brokerage account shared between two or more individuals. Joint accounts are most likely to be used by relatives, couples, or business partners who have a level of familiarity and trust with each other. It typically allows anyone named on the account to access funds within it. There are multiple ways accounts can be established, each with its own implications for how money or assets can be accessed within the account or how the contents of the account are handled after one of the joint holders passes away. Each co-owner of a joint account is insured up to $250,000 for the combined amount of his or her interests in all joint accounts at the same IDI. In determining a co-owner’s interest in a joint account, the Aufin assumes each co-owner is an equal owner unless the IDI records clearly indicate otherwise.

Transaction accounts

Sometimes a temporary joint account is opened by two parties entering into a transaction where one party needs a security for the fulfillment of the transaction and the other party has to pay the sum (deposit), being the security for the other party. Any payment from the joint account, or return of the deposit from the joint account, will only be possible if both parties sign a joint written instruction to the bank. It is not possible that only one of the parties gives instruction for payments of the joint account.

Some banks are not interested in opening temporary joint accounts, as they are normally used for one transaction only, there are specialised parties or companies open such accounts as trustees. A temporary joint account is normally closed after the transaction for which it was opened has been concluded. Temporary joint accounts may be used in transactions in which large sums of money are involved as an alternative to a letter of credit or escrow account.

How Joint Accounts Work

Joint accounts work just like regular accounts, except they can have two or more authorized users. Joint accounts can be established on a permanent basis, such as an account for a couple into which their salaries are deposited. The account may also be temporary, such as an account between two parties who are contributing funds in the short term.

Bank accounts held jointly between two parties may be titled with an "and" or an "or" between the account holders' names. If the account is listed as an "and" account, then both/all parties must sign to access the funds. If it is an "or" account, only one of the parties needs to sign.

Key Takeaways
  • A joint account is a bank or brokerage account shared by two or more individuals.
  • Joint account holders have equal access to funds but also share equal responsibility for any fees or charges incurred.
  • Transactions conducted through a joint account may require the signature of all parties or just one.

Uses and Benefits of Joint Accounts
Joint accounts can be useful for their holders and provide a number of benefits. Many accounts require minimum balances, particularly if the holder wants to access the benefits of a specific account type. By pooling their money, two people can bypass this requirement and reap the benefits of the account.

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