question of joint bank accounts, survivor rights

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rupun
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:10 pm

question of joint bank accounts, survivor rights

Post by rupun » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:40 pm

hi all,

so, wife and I have joint accounts (i.e. yhteinenomitajatili ), and not just the 'käyttöoikeudet' we've had them always, even while we lived abroad.

how does it work in Finland, if one of the spouse is deceased? Can the surviving spouse continue to use that? Or will they have to queue in the bread queue? We tried opening an account at another bank, and this topic came up and they stated that no, the account would be blocked. If so, how will the remaining spouse survive?



question of joint bank accounts, survivor rights

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Jukka Aho
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:46 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: question of joint bank accounts, survivor rights

Post by Jukka Aho » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:44 am

rupun wrote:hi all,

so, wife and I have joint accounts (i.e. yhteinenomitajatili ), and not just the 'käyttöoikeudet' we've had them always, even while we lived abroad.

how does it work in Finland, if one of the spouse is deceased? Can the surviving spouse continue to use that? Or will they have to queue in the bread queue? We tried opening an account at another bank, and this topic came up and they stated that no, the account would be blocked. If so, how will the remaining spouse survive?
According to Financial Supervisory Authority,

“If the account is in joint ownership and the other account holder dies, the estate replaces the deceased as the other joint owner of the account. If both the account holders have had the right to independently use the accounts, the estate of the deceased and the surviving account holder both have the right to separately use the account after the death of the other account holder. If the deceased and the surviving account holder have had the right to use the account only jointly, following the death of the other account holder, the estate and the surviving account holder only have the right to use the account jointly.”

http://www.finanssivalvonta.fi/en/Finan ... fault.aspx

http://www.finanssivalvonta.fi/en/Finan ... fault.aspx

However, the Financial Supervisory Authority does not care to specify whether this holds true before the estate inventory (perunkirjoitus) has been executed.

There seem to be several stories floating on the web about the widow finding out their access to the joint account has been blocked immediately after their spouse’s death. Or at least “conventional wisdom” claiming this to be the case.

Then again, in the document linked below — and contrary to the conventional wisdom — Nordea states (in a section titled Banking before the estate inventory):

“The surviving spouse continues to manage his or her assets independently. If the deceased and the surviving spouse had a joint account (‘or’ account), the latter can continue using the account.”

https://www.nordea.fi/Images/60-91748/f ... esa-en.pdf

Go figure. At least you should be aware that it only applies to a specific type of joint account. There are at least three types:
  • “OR” account. Person A OR Person B can use the account. They own the assets together, and the account is in both names.
  • “AND” account. Person A AND Person B can only do transactions by a joint decision. They own the assets together, and the account is in both names.
  • A normal account for a single person, on Person A’s name, with usage rights granted to Person B. Person A owns the assets and the account is in their name only.
Nordea’s claim, if it holds true, would only concern “OR” accounts.

Note that any of the beneficiaries to the estate — even a single beneficiary alone — has the right to pay the estate’s urgent/necessary bills with the estate’s money, by presenting the bills to the bank where the deceased person’s accounts are. Money can also be withdrawn from the estate’s accounts for arranging a funeral for the deceased person.

If the types of accounts and available assets are such that the widow or the surviving family finds themselves in a banking limbo before the estate inventory can be arranged, they can of course turn to Kela for social assistance.
znark


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