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POD Accounts

Stay out of expensive joints, as mentioned before, was the advice of one of my professors at Boston College Law School, and that bit of good advice has many layers. Certainly it may serve as an admonition to avoid places, such as restaurants, that may be a bit overpriced, but it was also intended to warn us of the perils of joint tenancies.

A joint tenancy is a way for more than one person to own property, such as a bank account, a home or a stock. By law, under the terms of a joint tenancy, if one joint owner dies, the surviving joint owners inherit the share of the deceased owner without having to go through probate. Thus, the transfer of the deceased owner’s interest in the property occurs quickly and with privacy. It should be noted that it does not, however, provide any protection of the assets from estate taxes. It should also be noted that when you have jointly owned assets, the property may, for example, become subject to claims against any of the joint owners regardless of who provided the money to purchase the stock or set up the bank account. In addition, the person you name as a joint owner will also have access to the joint asset. So a joint owner may legally empty your joint bank account.


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