If you’re thinking that joint accounts are a foolproof way to escape probate and funnel dollars to loved ones as a sort of “poor man’s estate plan,” think again. Sometimes a joint account is an excellent option. But the instrument has its pitfalls as well, and if misused or entered into without caution, joint accounts can pose serious risks. Adding a loved one to a bank account may seem like a prudent action, but such actions can impact Medicaid planning or even make your account “fair game” for your loved one’s creditors.
There are viable alternatives to joint accounts. A consultation with your attorney practicing Elder Law may suggest a durable power of attorney or a well-considered trust instrument.