There is really no substitute for proper inheritance planning. But unfortunately, there are individuals who get the idea that there are some very simple ways to arrange for asset transfers and they take leaps of faith.
One of these self-styled notions involves joint bank accounts. Some people reason that all you have to do is add a trusted family member to your account or accounts. You tell this individual what you want done with the assets after you pass away and you are all finished planning your estate.
This invites a number of potential difficulties. Let’s say that you have your life savings in one of these accounts and you have someone as a co-account holder. This individual experiences some financial difficulties. The circumstances could be completely understandable, such as a serious illness resulting in huge medical bills that simply overwhelmed this individual.
Creditors could absolutely go after your money. You made your co-account holder an equal owner of the resources and they are fair game.
There is also the matter of Medicaid eligibility. A very high percentage of seniors rely on Medicaid to pay for long-term care.
You have to stay within upper resource limits to qualify, and the assets in the joint account would be considered the property of each respective account holder in the eyes of Medicaid.
And finally, who really knows what the co-account holder may do with the funds? There is such a thing as elder financial abuse, and if someone was to fall for a scam of some sort or otherwise be victimized those resources could disappear in a hurry.
Why take chances? You can be certain that your resources are protected while you are alive and appropriately distributed when you pass away by executing a proper estate plan with the benefit of expert assistance.