The only way to be sure that you are doing things properly when you are making preparations for the latter stages of your life and your eventual death is to sit down and discuss everything with an inheritance planning expert. If you just follow the advice of a friend or take certain actions on your own you may be making mistakes that come back to haunt you (or your family) later on.
Along these lines there are those who decide to use joint accounts as a way to provide access to their resources to someone after they pass away. You simply add a family member’s name to the account and this individual will be able to handle the money after you die.
The main problem with this is the fact that this individual can also handle the money while you are alive. The co-account holder has all the same rights that you do and these resources are personally possessed by this individual in the eyes of the law.
So any entity that wanted to attach funds that were owned by this person could go after the joint account. This can include creditors and litigants.
Medicaid eligibility is another concern. Many people rely on Medicaid to pay for long-term care. The funds in the account could be considered part of the total assets of each co-account holder and this could could create an impediment that stands in the way of eligibility.
A joint account is simply not a viable estate planning solution and should never be seen as such.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.
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