Perils and pitfalls of joint accounts

Canadian senior citizens are being swindled by their own children through joint checking accounts.

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Online only.

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Pensioners safeguarding their finances have more to look out for than emails from purported Nigerian princes these days. A disturbing number of seniors are being fleeced by their adult children through joint bank accounts.

Analysts agree that aging parents are seldom versed on the full consequence of adding an adult child to their account. They warn pensioners considering this option to consult a lawyer, document their intentions and provide copies of this documentation to multiple trusted individuals.

Two key things to note if a joint account is unavoidable: prevent the joint account holder from setting up a line of credit, and make sure there are no overdrafts on the account.

Seniors should be aware that adding adult children to their bank accounts simply to assist with frequent banking operations such as bill payments and account management means both party’s lives are now legally entangled.

Adding another person to their account could result in seniors legally signing away their savings.

46 comments on “Perils and pitfalls of joint accounts

  1. This is so challenging on a number of levels. A joint account seems like such a good option. One of the ways to reduce these challenges is automatic bill payments and getting a senior comfortable with online banking. The next challenge is having someone get them cash. But they could always give the person a cheque upon receipt of the cash. When you add in layers of non computer savvy individuals or ones with language barriers, mobility issues, hearing issues etc, who else can they turn to but their family? One thing is for sure, if the senior has a primary caregiver who lives with them or helps them keep the house clean and makes meals etc, that person should perhaps keep track of the bills and statements but not be responsible for the payments too. Dividing the responsibilities between two individuals helps put some checks and balances in place.

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