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Joint bank account: what if my partner dies?

If you're thinking of sharing your finances with your partner, a joint bank account could be a good choice. It can make it easier to keep track of your finances, and allow you to budget better for expenses like bills, food and mortgage or rent payments.

If you'd both like some practical help with budgeting, getting the bills paid and avoiding overspending, you could open a joint Personal Account with thinkmoney.

Our account is an alternative to a joint bank account. Alongside Direct Debits and an online account management service, it also gives you access to our team of Money Managers: they're there to help you and your partner keep on top of your money, plan for the future together and make sure all your bills get paid on time.

For more on how our account works, click here.

What happens to a joint account if one person dies?

If you're considering a joint account - or you already have one - you might have a few questions. For example, what would happen to your account if one of you passed away?

When somebody dies, an 'administrator' or 'executor' will deal with that person's estate - which includes property and money. They'll pay the deceased person's debts and taxes, and distribute the money to those who are entitled to it.

When it comes to funds in a joint account, it's normally quite straightforward: they simply belong to the surviving partner. This money isn't counted as part of the deceased person's 'estate', so the administrator / executor does not need to deal with it.

Once the account provider has seen the death certificate, they'll transfer the account into the surviving account holder's name.

What if the deceased had debts?

If the joint account is overdrawn, the account provider may simply leave this in the name of the surviving account holder.

That's because getting a joint bank account shares any associated debt between both partners, regardless of who actually ran up the debt - unless it states differently in the contract. If one of the account holders dies, the responsibility will lie with the other person.