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Showing posts from July, 2014

Who Owns a Joint Bank Account When One Account Holder Dies?

Normally when folks think of a "joint bank account," such as between a married couple, the common sense presumption is that both are owners of the entire account, right?  That form of ownership is called Joint Tenancy.  You may be familiar with it from application in real estate; it also applies to personal property, based on the Illinois Joint Tenancy Act, 765 ILCS 1005, et. seq.  One of the key provisions of an asset owned by two or more people in joint tenancy is that, if one of the owners dies, the surviving joint tenants still own the whole asset; the asset is not part of the deceased owner's estate (called a "right of survivorship").

This was the subject of dispute in the recent case Konfrst v. Stehlik, __ Ill.App.3d __, Case No. 1-13-2113 (1st Dist. June 20, 2014), in which the executor of a decedent's estate sought to recover assets from such joint accounts from the other account holder.  The decedent was a widow and opened the subject accounts afte…