How to Close a Joint Bank Account

A joint bank account is any account, either checking or savings, that is owned jointly by two or more people. With joint accounts, all parties have equal ownership and thus any individual may close the account without the consent of other joint account holders.

Watch for Outstanding Checks and Debits

Before you close any bank account, joint or otherwise, its crucial to ensure that all recent checks and debit transactions against the account have cleared. This prevents bounced checks, bounced check fees, additional fees from your banking institution and even potential legal trouble.

Close the Account in Person

Most banks require you to close a bank account in person. It isn’t necessary to bring your joint account holder with you to close the account. As the joint owner, you have full rights to make changes to the bank account. You must be prepared to provide the bank representative you speak with a photo ID to prove your identity. In addition, your bank may require you to fill out a formal request to close the account, complete with a signature, before your request can be processed. Afterward, any remaining funds in the account will be remitted to you and the account will be closed.

The Dangers of Joint Bank Accounts

Banks do not “freeze” joint bank accounts until all joint account holders give their consent to close the account. Because of this, its important to only open up a joint bank account with someone you trust not to withdraw all of the account’s funds and close the account without your knowledge.

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