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Can two non-related people open a joint bank account?

Can two non-related people open a joint bank account?

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In a joint bank account, both parties enjoy equal ownership of the funds in the account, including the right to withdraw and deposit funds into the account at any time. In addition, this type of account is not limited to family members, though, according to, most joint accounts are between relatives.

Joint accounts for non-relatives

Nothing prohibits someone from opening a joint bank account with a non-relative. You will find that nearly all banks will accept this type of account so long as you meet the minimum guidelines. In many cases, you could open several different joint accounts with this person so that you could co-mingle funds among the accounts without withdrawing and depositing individually.


The greatest advantage of a joint account with a non-relative is the ease with which you can share funds for bills or business expenses. According to, roommates and business associates, who are not related, sometimes open joint bank accounts to more efficiently manage their funds for expenses. A very common example is business current. With a joint business current account, two or more people can share access to an account with business resources.


Under the law, a joint bank account gives authorised signers on the account equal and full access to the account. While a joint banking arrangement does provide benefits, these accounts aren’t always a perfect solution. There is no safeguard in place to stop one person from accessing and liquidating the account. In addition, the 100-per cent ownership arrangement means that no matter who deposits the most money into the joint account, all authorised signers are entitled to all funds.


Joint bank accounts with non-relatives are all about trust. All authorised signers agree to equally monitor the account using electronic banking or monthly statements. In addition, if anyone on the joint account is married to a person who is not authorised on the account, a divorce in that marriage could put the joint account in jeopardy. Trusting your business partners or roommates is essential for this type of joint banking.

Disadvantages of a joint account with right of survivorship

Using a joint bank account with a right of survivorship is common with married couples, but this type of account can lead to some difficulties. With this type of account, both parties who own the account have equal access to the funds. When one person dies, the money goes to the other person, according to

Difficult to close

One of the potential problems of a joint bank account with right of survivorship is that it can be difficult to close. If one person wants to close the account, she will need the permission of the other accountholder. If both parties are not in agreement about what to do with the account, it can lead to problems. In this case, the account may remain open even though no one is using it.

No creditor protection

A joint bank account with right of survivorship does not offer any creditor protection. When one person who has ownership of the account gets into credit trouble, he could have a judgment issued against him by the court system. When this happens, part of the money could be taken out of the account through a bank levy. The money removed from the account may not have been contributed by that person. But since his name is on the account, the creditor can take it.

Either party can take money

When two individuals use a joint bank account, each person has an equal right to the money in the account. It does not necessarily matter if one person puts 90 per cent of the money in the account and the other person contributes 10 per cent. Both of them have the right to take out 100 per cent of the money at any given time. This means that one spouse could take all of the money and run if he chose to do so.

Probate issues

A joint bank account will usually have to go through probate when the owners pass away. This means that the beneficiaries of the estate will have to wait for the probate court to distribute the assets. It also means that the account will become part of the public record, as is the case with all probate assets. If you would like to pass on assets to another person, a payable-on-death account may be a better choice. With this type of account, assets do not have to go through probate before they are passed on.

What happens to money left in a joint bank account after a person dies?

The question of what happens to money left in a joint bank account when one person dies is decided by the formal title of the account and the relationship between the two parties. Several factors must be considered when opening a joint bank account, including the distribution or disbursement of funds remaining after one owner’s death.

Joint bank accounts

Sharing a bank account with another person is not uncommon, particularly in the case of married couples, business partners, or parents and children. Typically, joint bank accounts are either current or savings, money markets or fixed deposits. Opening a joint bank account allows both parties to make deposits and withdrawals, use debit cards, write and sign cheques, and initiate wire transfers. Neither of the individuals has more or less authority to conduct banking business than the other.

Joint tenancy

Most joint bank accounts are opened and titled as “joint tenancy” accounts. This arrangement indicates that, upon the death of one of the parties, any money still held within the account will immediately pass to the other. The deceased party’s heirs have no claim to any of the money in the account due to the rights of survivorship of the living co-owner, even if in his will he indicated a desire to leave the money to another person.

Tenancy in common

You may instruct the bank to structure and title your joint bank account as “tenancy in common” as opposed to “joint tenancy.” This arrangement indicates that, upon one owner’s death, his portion of the money remaining in the account becomes the property of his heirs. Money in a joint bank account after one owner dies must first pass through probate as an asset of the deceased party’s estate and may be subject to inheritance or estate taxes.

Tenancy by the entirety

Married couples often open joint bank accounts under the title of “tenancy by the entirety.” This arrangement is very similar to joint tenancy in that, upon the death of one spouse, any remaining money becomes the sole property of the survivor. The significant difference with tenancy by the entirety is that the married couple conducts banking business as a single entity and creditors of the deceased spouse have no claim to any portion of the money still held within the joint bank account.

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