The ABA Foundation and AARP have produced an infographic to help seniors understand the risks of joint bank accounts, which are sometimes used to help seniors manage their finances by giving caregivers access to funds. Among the risks: a co-signee can become liable for taxes on the account, withdraw funds without the other co-signee’s consent or have funds taken if another co-signee is successfully sued for a debt.
“Setting up a joint account essentially removes the financial firewall between both parties,” said ABA SVP Corey Carlisle. “There are often safer alternatives available that will protect the assets of older customers, as well as those of financial caregivers.” These safer alternatives include “view only” accounts, financial powers of attorney and a “payable upon death” notice on the account.
The infographic is part of a collaboration between the ABA Foundation and AARP to protect older Americans from financial abuse and exploitation. The collaboration will result in educational resources, banking tools for caregivers and research about banks that are addressing fraud and exploitation issues.