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At the direction of the decedent a bank account was

established for the decedent by...
At the direction of the decedent a bank account was established for the decedent by his POA Jim. Jim had signature privileges only as POA for the account that he originally established for the decedent.
The bank gave the bank signature account card to the POA Jim for obtaining the signature of the decedent. The decedent wanted the POA Jim to have his name on the account. At the request of the decedent the bank account was signed by both the POA Jim and the decedent. That made the individual bank account a joint bank account. Both the decedent and his POA Jim utilized the joint account. Both individuals made Debit card withdrawals and issued checks from the joint account. On occasions, the decedent would direct his POA Jim to transfer funds into the joint account. Upon the death of the decedent Jim believed that the account belonged to him? Jim’s brother has now filed a turnover proceeding to force Jim to give the funds that were in the joint account to the Estate of the decedent!
Would the establishment of this account constitute an inter vivos gift? or Would the establishment of this account be a testamentary substitute? or Would this be a Causa Mortis Gift? NOTE: THE joint account was established 2 years prior to the decedent’s death which was shortly after the decedent had been diagnosed with terminal illness! Will Jim have to give the funds that were in the joint account to the Estate of the decedent?
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Answered in 25 minutes by:
8/2/2017
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,313
Experience: Experienced in Trust and Succession Law, including Louisiana Laws
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If he was listed as a joint tenant on the account, upon death of one joint tenant, the other joint has survivorship over the account. Thus, if he obtained a joint account, unless the account specified otherwise, survivorship is presumed. Thus, by decedent giving the POA joint tenancy over the account the presumption is the account belonged to both of them equally over 100% of the account. New York has four requirements for joint tenancy. All owners must have the same interest in the property. The same legal instrument, such as a deed, must have conveyed the interest in the property to all the owners as joint tenants. Finally, all owners must be able to possess and access the entire property.
The only thing Jim's brother could try to argue is that Jim was added to the account at a later date and as such no joint tenancy was created and it was merely for convenience. But in general, survivorship is going to be presumed here under the circumstances you describe. You really need to have a NY Probate attorney involved to physically review the documentation though to make sure all the elements are present for the joint tenancy.
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Ref the above joint account:
Shortly before the death of the decedent, (5 days) the decedent directed his POA Jim to withdraw funds from an individual account that the decedent had and deposit those funds into the joint account held by the decedent and his POA Jim. It is this transfer of funds that Jim’s brother is arguing belongs to the decedent’s estate. Jim’s brother is claiming that as POA for the decedent Jim acted inappropriately when he transferred those funds at the verbal direction of the decedent. Jim had full POA for the decedent. Jim could give gifts to himself and to others. However, he acted at the VERBAL direction of the decedent when he transferred the funds 5 days before the death of the decedent. Will Jim have to give the funds that he transferred 5 days before the death of the decedent from the individual account that the decedent had into the joint account held by the decedent and his POA Jim to the Estate of the decedent?

Thank you for your reply.

In that case it appears this is a joint tenant with survivorship and that Jim is the rightful owner of that account.

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,313
Experience: Experienced in Trust and Succession Law, including Louisiana Laws
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