What is a joint bank account?
A joint bank account (or joint account) is a bank account that two or more people share (it is set up in the name of two or more people). The accountholders can deposit and withdraw from the joint account, but must decide whether their joint consent is required to withdraw funds, make other transactions, or provide instructions with respect to the joint account, or whether either of them may do this on their own. As a joint accountholder, you share equal responsibility for the transactions made through the joint account.
Why set up a joint bank account?
- Manage shared expenses, often with a spouse or family member.
- Have another accountholder help with your banking, especially if you have health or mobility issues that make it more difficult for you to manage your banking on your own.
- Let a relative handle your finances if you’re travelling or unable to access your bank account.
Are there any risks of using a joint bank account?
Unless you set up the joint account to require all accountholders to instruct us or transact on the account jointly, any accountholder may transact without your consent. Transactions include deposits, withdrawals, transfers and account closure. This means that:
- You will be responsible for all transactions initiated by the other accountholder(s) just as though you made the transactions yourself.
- Other accountholder(s) generally have the right to withdraw some or all of the funds in the joint account at any time regardless of who deposited the funds into the account.
- You may be exposed to financial problems of another accountholder where the accountholder has unpaid debts and a creditor seeks to recover amounts it is owed by seizing the funds in the joint account.
- You are responsible for any transactions that result in an overdraft in your joint account even where caused by the other accountholder(s). For example, a cheque deposited to the joint account by another accountholder may be returned due to insufficient funds (“NSF”). If payments were made out of the joint account in reliance on that NSF deposit, the joint account may be put into an overdraft position and you will be responsible for all related interest and fees owed to us.
What happens if one of us dies?
This will depend on the terms that govern the joint account and the direction provided by the accountholders to us at the time the joint account is opened. In some cases, the joint account may have a right of survivorship which allows TD Canada Trust to pay the account balance directly to the surviving joint accountholder(s).
Note: In Québec, a joint account is frozen upon the death of one of the joint accountholders.Talk to us about how this works.
What’s a right of survivorship?
If one accountholder dies and the joint account has been designated by the accountholders in our records as having a right of survivorship, we are entitled to pay the funds to the surviving accountholder(s).
We are, however, not in a position to determine whether the surviving accountholder(s) may keep the funds as their own or whether they should be distributed in accordance with the deceased's will or provincial laws governing estate matters. In some cases, legal ownership of the funds could be challenged by others who may think they have an interest in the account such as beneficiaries of the deceased's estate. A surviving joint accountholder may have to demonstrate that the deceased accountholder intended the remaining funds be a gift to the joint accountholder. This could potentially lead to delays in the surviving accountholder being able to access funds in the account.
What if you need help paying expenses and making deposits but do not want to set up a joint account?
Consider whether you would benefit from making pre-authorized automatic payments to service providers and arrange with them and us to set up these payments from your bank account.
If you need additional assistance, consider whether a power of attorney is right for you. For more information on powers of attorney, please see the following link: td.com/to-ourcustomers/power-of-attorney.jsp