People consider their finances and transferring wealth to the next generation more as they age. Some create right-of-survivor bank accounts to make the transfer of funds easier.
After they pass away, the funds from those without these bank accounts go to their estates. The estate is then responsible for allocating the money properly, but this procedure may take some time. Bank accounts with right-of-survivorship help heirs get around this problem, but can these accounts be contested? Proceed to learn more.
A Right of Survivorship: What Is It?
A property ownership concept known as “right of survivorship” states that the surviving owner immediately inherits the deceased owner’s portion of the asset. This helps keep things clear when there are several owners involved. This right, however, does not apply to all properties because it is contingent upon the existence of multiple owners and the significance of the property’s ownership structure.
Which Kinds of Documents Contain a Right of Survivorship?
Three different kinds of deeds contain a survivorship right. When there is a co-ownership structure, all three deeds are utilized. Every type of deed specifies the precise operation of the right of survivorship as well as the division and transfer of the property interest. Tenancy by the entirety, community property, and joint tenancy are the three types of survivorship deeds. Below is a detailed explanation of each of these kinds of deeds.
- Joint Tenancy: Joint tenancy deeds are the most common co-ownership structure with survivorship rights, where each owner has equal rights to the property interest of a deceased owner, and if a single owner remains, they can sell or transfer the property.
- Tenancy by the Entirety: Joint tenants can have a tenancy by the entirety, requiring written consent from both spouses for property changes. This prevents selling, mortgages, or beneficiary transfers. The surviving spouse inherits the entire estate in the event of one spouse’s death. entire estate in the event of one spouse’s death. Keep in mind that while most states recognize tenancy in its entirety, not all do.
- As a right of survivorship, community property law is implemented in nine states across the United States. Married couples receive the same treatment as one economic unit in these states. This implies that, even in cases where they are not expressly named on the deed, one spouse may possess title to community property with the right of survivorship. The surviving spouse inherits the property automatically in the event of one spouse’s death. Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin are the states with community property laws.
Knowing the fundamentals of survivorship rights:
Survivorship rights shield spouses in the event of a partner’s passing. It makes it possible to quickly transfer money to the heirs you have named. This arrangement usually occurs between spouses and their children through a joint account. The money in the joint account is accessible to the surviving account holder(s) in the event of one of the account holders’ deaths. Nevertheless, it’s not always easy to put survivorship rights into practice. Some situations allow for the challenge of right-of-survivor bank accounts.
How to Ascertain if One Can Contest a Survivorship Bank Account
These steps can help you determine if you can contest survivorship rights and determine the status of a survivorship bank account.
- Examine the initial contract
Before filing a legal challenge, read the fine print for survivorship rights in a bank account, as not all accounts have these rights preserved.
- Examine any obligations or liabilities
Debt persists, and some individuals cannot repay it. Joint accounts may be used to pay off deceased debts before distributing them to heirs, but creditors and debtors may seize funds, causing unfairness.
- Take into account a lawsuit
Survivorship rights are typically granted to those who have a legal relationship with the deceased. It might be necessary for the surviving account holder to prove they are the departed account holder’s spouse or child. Proof of co-ownership should be adequate if the survivor does not meet any of these requirements.
- Engage a lawyer
The legal system can quickly become overwhelming, particularly for those without any prior legal experience. You can get advice from an attorney on what your legal rights are and how to approach the right of survivorship. You can save time and money by getting some advice before contesting a survivorship right or defending your survivorship rights.
- Attend court
A few right-of-survivorship bank accounts end up at the crux of court cases. The court can clarify several issues not addressed by this list and decide after hearing arguments from both sides.
How to get ready to formally contest survivorship rights
If you wish to challenge survivorship rights, you might require legal assistance. To prepare a formal contestation of survivorship rights, you must adhere to the procedures listed below.
Establish the legal foundation for contesting a bank account’s survivorship
It takes legal justification to contest survivorship rights. You can challenge the survivorship bank account and your options in a number of ways, and an attorney can guide you through them. An attorney can offer legal advice if someone targets your right-of-survivorship account in order to improve the chances of a successful outcome in court.
Write an official document
It will be necessary for you to draft an official document outlining the basis for your contestation. To make your contestation seem more official, you can have legal terms drafted into it with the assistance of an attorney.
Send in the contest entry
It’s time to turn in your petition once you and your lawyer have finalized the paperwork. The bank can furnish data that confirms the validity of survivorship rights for joint accounts or shows why you were correct to contest the survivorship account. You must file the contestation with the court in order to pursue legal action, even though it takes longer and costs more money.
Can Right of Survivorship Bank Account Be Challenged: Contesting the Right of Survivorship in a Bank Account
Although it’s not for everyone, it is possible to contest a right-of-survivor bank account. Knowing your options will enable you to decide if this is the best course of action or if you should forego contesting a right of survivorship. Making a better decision might come from speaking with an attorney and getting their opinion.
Can Right of Survivorship Bank Account Be Challenged? Are survivorship rights superseding wills?
Wills do not matter; the right of survivorship takes precedence over them all. This type of arrangement circumvents the need for probate. However, the agreement ends when the last living party in a JTWROS passes away; in that case, the asset or property becomes part of their will and passes to their heirs.
Questions and Answers on Can the Right of Survivorship Bank Account Be Challenged:
In Texas, are joint bank accounts entitled to survivorship?
The origin of the title is “joint tenant” property, meaning that the owner has survivorship rights over the joint tenant. Upon the death of the other owner, this property automatically transfers to the named joint account owner who is still alive.
Regarding a joint bank account, what is the survivorship provision?
According to Probate Code Section 5302(a), “unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intent,” the account belongs to the surviving joint holder upon the death of the other. Usually, people refer to this as a right of survivorship.
What is the process to determine whether a joint bank account has a right of survivorship?
The bank signature card used to establish the account should, in general, identify the interests of the parties as having rights of survivorship. This has historically been the most significant factor in determining whether a joint account is with rights of survivorship.