Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Joint bank accounts and evidence
Posted by Lynne Butler
The article is a summary of the case of Swiderski v. Walsh, The lawsuit in this case was between a brother and a sister after their mother died. The mother had a will which left her estate equally between her kids, but she also had a joint bank account with her daughter.
Does that sound familiar? It should, since hundreds, if not thousands, of you have set up your own affairs exactly the same way.
The fight was about whether or not the daughter was actually the owner of the joint bank account after the mother died. The daughter said she was entitled to keep the money. The son said that arrangement went against the mother's wish that the kids be treated equally. Since they could not come to an agreement, the matter had to be decided the hard way - that is, by a judge.
In this case, the court decided that the daughter could keep the account. It's important to understand that this is not a precedent that applies to everyone in this situation. It was very much decided on the specific facts of the case, as all of these situations are. Mr. Bloom's article gives a good summary of the factors the court will look at in this kind of dispute. To read his article, click here.
And please, pay close attention to the first sentence of the article: "In the estate litigation world joint bank account disputes have unfortunately become a routine occurrence." Since we know that these joint accounts are being fought out between siblings every day across Canada, maybe you should re-think your joint account arrangement.