Can I Change the Name on a Certificate of Deposit?

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Whether you can change the name on a certificate of deposit or another bank account usually depends on the bank's terms. If your own name changes as the account holder, you usually can ask the bank to update the account. If you want to add a joint owner or transfer the account, that will depend on bank policies.

Tips

  • It may be possible to change the name on your Certificate of Deposit. Each financial institution has their own policy, however, so you'll need to check with your bank to determine if a name change is possible.

Certificates of Deposit

Certificates of deposit are a type of bank account that pay relatively high interest in exchange for agreeing to keep your money in the account for a certain period of time, specified when you open the account. If you close the account or withdraw funds early, there can be a penalty, often big enough to undo the interest rate gains. You generally can't add additional funds to a CD account, unless there are special terms allowing you to do so. When the account's term ends, you often have a limited-time grace period to indicate if you want to close the account, or it may automatically renew for another period of the same length.

If you have a CD account and want to put it in somebody else's name, one option is to close the account, withdraw the funds and reopen an account in the other person's name. In addition to penalties from the bank, transferring funds may incur gift taxes for the person providing the money or income tax for the person receiving it. This depends on the relationship between the two parties, the amount of money involved and why the funds are being transferred.

Jointly Held Accounts

You can open a joint bank account in which multiple people have the right to access the funds. Note that if you do so, the accountholders should all trust one another, since it's often possible for anyone involved to remove all funds from the account for their own use.

Some banks will allow you to add and remove joint holders from an account while it is open, with the consent of the existing owners. You may be able to change ownership on the account by adding a joint owner, then removing the original owner, but this will depend on the bank's particular terms.

Changing Your Name

If you legally change your name, banks will generally update your accounts to use your new name once you submit proof of your legal name change. You may need to present photo identification with your new name as well.

CD Beneficiaries

In addition to account owners, CD accounts often have account beneficiaries who are designated to inherit the account when the owner dies. Often, banks will waive early withdrawal penalties if the owner dies and the heir wants to remove the funds.

You can generally change beneficiaries whenever you wish by either visiting a bank branch or using online banking services, depending on a bank's particular procedures.

References

About the Author

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.