When a loved one passes away, making funeral arrangements is usually one of the first things requiring your attention. At San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home, we can help you make the best decisions so that funeral planning goes as smoothly as possible.

But, we also understand that there are many more things to consider once the funeral is over. This includes the state of the deceased’s financial matters. One question that often comes up is what to do with a joint bank account.

In Arizona, when two people share a joint bank account and one of them dies, then the surviving co-owner of the account typically becomes the sole owner automatically. This is the easiest-case scenario. However, things are not always this simple. There are factors pertaining to Arizona law that may complicate this general rule.

Listed below are three main ways to set up a joint bank account in Arizona:

Joint Account Without A Right of Survivorship

When two or more people share a joint account without right of survivorship, Arizona law states that when one owner dies, the surviving owner or owners continues to have access to the account. However, the surviving owner needs to be aware that the portion of the account that was contributed by the deceased will be subject to probate. This can cause problems if there is a discrepancy regarding the amount that each owner has contributed. For this reason, this type of joint bank account is not always the best strategy.

Joint Accounts With A Right of Survivorship

In this type of joint account, the assets in the account will pass on to the surviving joint owner or owners without restriction when another joint owner dies. In this case, right of survivorship essentially guarantees that the surviving owners will have complete control over the account. If, however, both or all owners on the accounts were to pass away simultaneously, the bank account would then be subject to probate.

Joint Accounts With A Right Of Survivorship And a Pay-On-Death Designation

A pay-on-death designation is one way to avoid probate on a joint bank account in Arizona. With this designation, the bank will have record of an account beneficiary who will be paid the amount in the bank account upon the owners’ passing. If there is no surviving beneficiary, then the account will be subject to probate.

While the above information is only to help you understand some of the differences in how joint accounts can be set up, we advise that you speak to your attorney or financial advisors when making the right decision for you.

Should you have any questions that we can answer regarding funeral planning or arrangements, please contact us at San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home. We are here to help you however we can.