When joint accounts don’t mean joint accounts – a potential road block when your partner dies

When reviewing own finances, I found that all of my wife, Jayne’s and my bank accounts are in my name – even though some of the accounts appear to be in joint names and one has her name on it, legally they are in my name.

This means that, even though a lot of the cash we have has been earned by Jayne and is in a separate account with her name on it, if I die, all of our accounts will be frozen and Jayne will not be able to access any of the cash.  This will cause something of a problem in her life.

Add to this that our credit cards are also in my name – yes, Jayne has an additional card with her name on it but if I die, the card accounts will be closed – my family will be without cash and without credit cards.

So, please check with your bank who actually owns the accounts.  If you have at least one each, no problem. BUT, if like me you find that they are all in one name, what to do about it?

Open up a new bank account – this is not usually a problem but you may need to go into a branch of your bank to provide them with 100 points of identification.

Apply for a new credit card.  This should also not be hard – but it is!  You may need to prove income (e.g. 2 years of tax returns) to prove credit worthiness – yes, your partner may have been spending more money on the card than you have but, if the card is in your name, they may not have any credit rating and it may be difficult to get them a new card.

As it may be a long process, start as soon as you can.

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