top of page

Why You Should NOT Make Your Child a Co-Owner of Your Bank Account

Parents might consider making their child a co-owner of their bank account for the sake of convenience, especially in emergencies. However, there are several compelling reasons why this isn't the best course of action:

  1. Creditor Concerns: One significant issue is that creditors can potentially attach to your bank account. If your child has debts, their creditors can legally go after their assets, which includes any money in a bank account they share ownership of. This means your account could be drained to pay off your child's debts.

  2. Unauthorized Withdrawals: Granting your child access to your bank account comes with the risk that they could withdraw all the money without your consent. This situation is often seen in cases involving children struggling with addiction, which can leave you in a precarious financial situation.

  3. Estate Planning Implications: In the event of your passing, assets held jointly with another person automatically transfer to them. If you share a bank account with your child, the money in it will go directly to them upon your death, which could conflict with your intended estate plan.

  4. Taxation Issues: Making your child a co-owner might lead to tax implications for them, especially on any interest or dividends earned on the account. This could pose a significant tax burden, particularly if your child is a student or has a limited income.

  5. Strained Relationships: Sharing a bank account with your child can strain your relationship. Your child might feel entitled to the money in the account, even if your intention was solely to provide them with emergency access.

  6. Spousal Access: If you make your child a co-owner and they go through a divorce, your funds could become an asset subject to division in divorce proceedings, putting your savings at risk.

Given these concerns, it's generally advisable not to make your child a co-owner of your bank account. There are safer alternatives to provide them with access to your funds:

  • Establish a Trust: Trusts are legal documents that allow you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trustee, who can manage the assets for the benefit of beneficiaries, such as your child. You can specify the purposes for which your child can access trust funds, such as education or medical expenses.

  • Grant a Power of Attorney: You can provide your child with a power of attorney, which authorizes them to access your bank account and make withdrawals on your behalf. Importantly, you retain the ability to revoke this power of attorney at any time.

  • Add Your Child as an Authorized User on Your Credit Card: If your goal is to enable your child to make purchases on your behalf, you can add them as an authorized user on your credit card. This grants them the ability to make charges on your credit card while keeping your bank account secure.

If you're considering making your child a co-owner of your bank account, it's wise to consult with an attorney at Three Rivers Law Center to thoroughly understand the associated risks and explore safer alternatives.

306 views0 comments


bottom of page