The aftermath of losing a loved one can be complicated and stressful. This can be made even more confusing when assets are being divided. In the case of a joint account, the assets do not always fall to the living member of the account. 

Often parents will create a joint account or register their home jointly with an adult child. It is often assumed that if the original owner dies, then the other person will receive those assets based on the “right of survivorship”. This is not always the case, as it depends on the intent of the original owner of those assets.

Other adult children or people who may have an interest in the estate or account of the deceased person, can challenge the joint ownership. This can only be done by showing that the deceased person actually intended for the joint assets to be set up for either estate planning purposes or convenience to pay bills and that they did not intend that the other person on the joint account actually receive those assets by right of survivorship. 

CBM has succeeded in challenging joint bank accounts and joint tenancies by proving that in fact these assets do not go to the other person by right of survivorship, but are actually held in trust by that person for the estate. The assets then go back into the estate and can be distributed according to a will or according to the law of intestacy. 


Gene Fraser is one of CBM's Associates who specializes in Estate Litigation. Reach out to Gene or a member of our team to learn how we can help you. Contact us today!