Mom or Dad needs help with paying the bills and managing their money. Many think the most logical solution might be to just add a child or all the children to the bank account. Then the children can keep tabs on the account, watch for strange movements of money, and pay bills.
But wait . . . this may not be a good idea. In fact, Polly Bartle Blomquist, an attorney, and owner of Complete Estate & Probate Law, LLC, ask the question "As you age, should you add your child to your bank account as a joint owner; or should bankers encourage this practice?"
She shared a great article on LinkedIn "Don't worry, I put my child on my account" that takes a look at this practice and explains why she advises against it.
Keep in mind that this child or children are not kids, they are adults with all sorts of issues that could come into play and affect the parent's finances.
Life Issues Combine
When you make a child a joint owner of a bank account, then all the child's baggage attaches to the account. If the child has a financial issue that comes up, the account is at risk:
- The child gets divorced and assets get divided, their former spouse could get part of the account.
- If the child gets sued, the account is at risk
- The child owes money, the account is at risk.
It's all well and good to trust your child. But what if they get in a bind and need cash fast. The money is just sitting there and accessible. The child has full access to the money.
Do all the Kids Agree
Mom or dad passes away and it has been agreed in advance that the money will be split in a certain way. But if only one child is on the account, can they be trusted to split up the money the way it was decided. One would hope, but it does not always happen.