Using Joint Ownership for Incapacity Planning

The simplest, least expensive tactic for dealing with potential incapacity is to put some assets in joint ownership, with right of survivorship. For example, you might name a son or daughter as joint owner of your bank account so he/she can pay bills for you, handle deposits, etc. However, there are problems with

Incapacity planning is one of the many steps government employees should take to gain security and peace of mind if something should ever happen to them. Several questions will likely come up during the planning process, including whether to open a joint account to ensure financial security. Although FEDweek mostly outlines the cons of opening a joint bank account, there are also several benefits. All it takes is some careful thought and consideration, including the following steps:

1. Choose someone you trust.

This likely goes without saying, but it’s extremely important that you have a healthy, trusting relationship with the person you are naming as the co-owner of your account. If you’re choosing one of your children, be sure your entire family (including any siblings) are all on board and in agreeance with the plan.

2. Set rules and boundaries.

FEDweek indicates that opening a joint account opens you up to a risk of the co-owner using that money for their benefit or investing it elsewhere. Once you choose someone you trust, set an agreement between yourselves that the money should only be used in the event of a potential incapacity.

3. Plan carefully.

A joint account is just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to estate and incapacity planning. There are several other important documents and plans needed, including:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Power of Attorney
  • Final Arrangements
  • HIPAA Authorization

While there are many common-sense steps to take when it comes to opening a joint account, there are other complex questions that will arise during the planning process -- all of which can become overwhelming. That’s why the experts at Insight Benefits Counselors (IBC) are standing by to help provide the answers and resources you need. From planning for retirement to an individualized benefit analysis, IBC is focused on your future. Get started today!

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