The pros and cons of joint accounts

Understand the implications before signing on as a co-owner.

Gail Bebee 16 June, 2014 | 6:00PM
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Convenience is an oft-cited reason for opening a joint chequing, savings or investment account. A joint chequing account makes it easy for spouses to pay shared household expenses. Signing on as co-owner of the accounts of an elderly parent is a handy way for a time-pressed adult child to monitor and manage her parents' financial affairs.

However, there are other, arguably more important, factors to consider before setting up a joint account with a family member or a trusted friend or advisor. Without full consideration of how these accounts work, the resulting consequences for your finances and your estate could be devastating.

By definition, a joint account is a bank, investment or other account that is owned equally by two or more people. When the account is opened, the accountholders specify whether transactions require joint or individual consent.

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About Author

Gail Bebee

Gail Bebee  Gail Bebee is an independent personal finance speaker, teacher and the author of No Hype--The Straight Goods on Investing Your Money. She can be reached at gbebee@gailbebee.com; her website is www.gailbebee.com.

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