Can Two Non-Related People Open a Joint Bank Account?

by Duncan Jenkins
Think carefully before opening a joint bank account.

In a joint bank account, both parties enjoy equal ownership of the funds in the account, including the right to withdraw and deposit funds into the account at any time. In addition, this type of account is not limited to family members, though, according to Bankrate.com, most joint accounts are between relatives.

Joint Accounts: Non-Relatives

Nothing prohibits someone from opening a joint bank account with a non-relative. You will find that nearly all banks will accept this type of account so long as you meet the minimum guidelines. In many cases, you could open several different joint accounts with this person so that you could co-mingle funds among the accounts without withdrawing and depositing individually.

Advantages

The greatest advantage of a joint account with a non-relative is the ease with which you can share funds for bills or business expenses. According to Bankrate.com, roommates and business associates, who are not related, sometimes open joint bank accounts to more efficiently manage their funds for expenses. A very common example is business checking. With a joint business checking account, two or more people can share access to an account with business resources.

Disadvantages

Under the law, a joint bank account gives authorized signers on the account equal and full access to the account. While a joint banking arrangement does provide benefits, these accounts aren't always a perfect solution. There is no safeguard in place to stop one person from accessing and liquidating the account. In addition, the 100-percent ownership arrangement means that no matter who deposits the most money into the joint account, all authorized signers are entitled to all funds.

Trust

Joint bank accounts with non-relatives are all about trust. All authorized signers agree to equally monitor the account using electronic banking or monthly statements. In addition, if anyone on the joint account is married to a person who is not authorized on the account, a divorce in that marriage could put the joint account in jeopardy. Trusting your business partners or roommates is essential for this type of joint banking.

About the Author

Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.

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