Often, older people will add the name of one or more of their children to their checking accounts or brokerage accounts. They might do this to make it easier for the children to help them with their financial affairs. Or they might think that it’s a clever way to avoid probate.
Joint ownership can be good in some cases, but there are a number of dangers in setting things up this way.
To illustrate, imagine that Anna has three children – Barry, Louise, and Todd – and she adds their names to some of her various accounts so they can help her with her finances. What could go wrong? [Read more…]