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What happens to the joint account in the event of the death of an account holder?

Happy is the one who is not troubled by worries and troubles. Unfortunately, life doesn't always play out the way you would like it to and worse, sometimes it turns out to be sticky. If, for example, the partner is suddenly and unexpectedly torn from life, not only is the pain and grief immeasurable - sometimes there are also arguments or even disagreements with regard to the inheritance.

Difficult but important: dealing with the loss of your loved one, freshly in love

Newly in love or newly married couples in particular hardly ever think of one validationin case the partner dies. Such a stroke of fate can be unpleasant in terms of inheritance law and thus also as a result financial consequences for the remaining partner.


Above all, three factors are decisive:

  • 1. The marital status, or whether the partners live in a marriage or a registered partnership or live together unmarried.
  • 2. The legal succession and the existence of a will.
  • 3. The way of the joint account management.

Agreements and a will are essential for unmarried partners

First of all, one has to distinguish between married and unmarried couples. Because depending on whether you are connected to your partner with a marriage certificate or simply live together, there are different consequences. Couples who have a joint account in a valid marriage do not need to worry too much. The Legal succession, which applies in the event of the death of the spouse, takes the remaining spouse into account appropriately, insofar as no deviating regulations, e.g. Will of the deceased, Find application. The remaining partner can continue to manage the joint account alone. However, it looks quite different with unmarried partners unmarried or unregistered cohabiting partners are not taken into account in the legal succession. Except for the jointly managed account, which, depending on the type of account management chosen, the heirs can access and this situation can have consequences, for example for common debt like an overdraft facility, in the worst case even the shared apartment can suddenly be available for use. In order to prevent this scenario from occurring, unmarried partners can and should handwrite one last will and others in good time written agreements on how to deal with the joint account to meet.

The type of account is another crucial factor

Not only the way in which the partners are connected, but also the type of shared account, are crucial factors if one of the account holders dies. You should know that it is two types of account management for joint accounts there are:

  • 1. And account
  • 2. Or account

However, the AND account is rarely chosen as the type of account for the joint account, which is why only a few people use one possible death are likely to be affected. This has to do with the process and access to the shared account if it is managed as an AND account. In the case of an AND account, none of the account holders can greatly reduce it decide on account movements alone, the consent of all other account holders is always required. Therefore, in practice, an account is only managed using an AND account in rare exceptional cases and special constellations.

Oder accounts have proven to be best practice for joint accounts

Most use it in everyday life Account communities the practical Oder account, which allows anyone authorized to dispose of the account and their own transactions without the consent of the other account holder being necessary. But how the joint account is managed also has an impact if one of the account holders dies. In the case of the Oder account, the remaining partner usually takes over the account management alone in the event of death, whereas in the case of an And account that is only rarely managed, the heirs of the deceased partner take over his rights and obligations from the account contract proportionately. In summary, with the usual Oder account, the survivor can manage the account alone, whereas with the And account, the consent of the person is required for each individual transaction or access to the account Heirs or the community of heirs is required.

There is only one small catch: The process described requires a marriage certificate or a registered partnership. If you are not married, the legal succession comes into effect again and - this makes the circumstances even more difficult - the previous one jointly managed Oder account In the event of death, one of the partners may be converted into an AND account at the request of the heirs, with all legal consequences, such as the then required consent of the heirs for each individual transaction. In particular, if there is no trust between the heir and the remaining partner, OR accounts are converted into AND accounts in order to avoid unauthorized withdrawals. Unmarried partners with a joint account can only avoid the occurrence of such scenarios through prudence and foresight and should record agreements and create testamentary written declarations in the form of a will in order to avoid negative effects on the surviving party. Spouses only take these points into account if they practice a declared separation of property or want to consider the partner in a manner deviating from statutory regulations and compulsory shares.

The limit for tax-free gifts for partners without a marriage license is much lower

In the case of spouses who have a joint account, in the event of death, from the point of view of the Financial management the totality of the faith according to ยง 430 BGB accepted, so that only half of the account balance is counted as a discount. However, the tax office can claim gift tax for donations made by the deceased partner. This circumstance again primarily affects unmarried couples, since for spouses the amount of donations and thus also the Entry of taxation is set much higher. Unmarried partners only have a limit of a few thousand euros in a specified period for tax-free gifts. If you have amounts from the former joint account in addition to the due share, you can also use a Compensation payment become due to the heirs.

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