How Do I Remove Someone's Name Off of a Joint Bank Account?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

Joint bank accounts can be useful in many different situations. For small business partnerships, they can provide the principals of a given business with access to a portion of the entity's liquid finances. Since joint business bank accounts can typically be accessed by multiple parties at once, such arrangements may permit trusted stakeholders to tap into the business's cash reserves without seeking the formal approval of their partners.

Likewise, joint bank accounts are an excellent means by which parents may teach their children about financial matters. Once their children reach an appropriate age, many parents choose to open joint bank accounts for them. Although parents have nominal control over these joint "custodial" bank accounts until their children reach the age of majority, these financial tools may serve as an important teaching tool. Minor children can still deposit and withdraw funds from the joint bank accounts to which they're attached. Once they turn 18, they may be permitted to open and close new bank accounts at will.

Joint bank accounts are also useful for married couples. For simplicity's sake, many couples choose to merge their finances. Unlike parent-child financial relationships, these arrangements are generally equitable: Each spouse may draw upon the account and make decisions related to its administration. In the event of a separation or divorce, these accounts may serve as sources of vitriolic disagreements between warring ex-spouses.

There are many situations in which it might make sense to remove someone's name from a joint bank account. If you're considering doing so, you'll need to take several steps. However, you shouldn't over-think the process. In most cases, it can be done within a few minutes. If you're assigned as the "primary" account-holder on a joint or custodial account, it may be even easier to remove your fellow account-holders. To take a minor child off of a custodial account, you can simply call your bank and request that they be removed from the account.

It's also easy to remove a willing participant from a joint bank account. Individuals who have no desire to remain attached to the account in question can typically be neutralized during the course of a brief bank-branch meeting. You'll need to appear with the appropriate individual at a branch of your bank. You'll both require two forms of legal identification. Finally, you'll both need to sign a piece of paper that makes the move official. The entire process should take a matter of minutes.

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