If one leaves deceased spouse on joint bank account, what happens? If one leaves deceased spouse on home deed, what happens?

Note, Soc Sec has been provided with copy of death certificate. Accounts with beneficiaries have been dispersed.

1 Answer 1


There are multiple kinds of joint ownership, centered around the question of survivorship. One possible outcome is that the deceased willed their property to some other person Smith, therefore Smith will not have A's interest in the account. Let's assume that the accounts and house are both joint tenants with right of survivorship. Then the survivor simply is the only person who has the right to access the account. However, the account probably cannot be closed, because as far as the bank knows, the deceased spouse still has an interest in the account, and will require the spouse to sign the paperwork. Therefore the surviving spouse will have to bring in paperwork to establish that the deceased spouse is deceased.

Similarly, a deceased spouse can remain on the deed, but when it comes time to sell the house, it will be necessary to legally "extinguish" the deceased spouse's interest in the house. It can also complicate mortgage-refinancing or using the house as security for a loan to leave the paperwork unresolved.

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