Greek City Times introduces Anastasia Miliou, an attorney practicing law in Athens Greece. Anastasia writes about legal matters that preoccupy a majority of citizens, explaining in simple terms their legal rights, obligations and consequences.
Through her articles Anastasia also informs Greeks living abroad about their rights to their properties in Greece, inheritance matters, citizenship, parental donations, property transfers, tax obligations and so on.
Today's article by Anastasia relates to joint bank accounts.
All people named in a joint account are privy to the money by law.
Most of us have opened accounts at various bank branches. These accounts may be personal or joint.
In joint bank accounts i.e. bank deposits where there are two or more co-signers, there is a particular relationship between these two or more persons and the bank.
In the case of monetary deposits in a joint account in the name of the depositor and the third party or parties, there is, independent of the money that was deposited to others or to some in favour of others, active or total guilt between depositors and the third party as well as a legally binding agreement of the bank. Practically, this means that in a joint account, all parties whose names are on the account automatically become privy to money deposited by one of the account owners (in part or in total) hence they automatically have rights to the money in the account.
With a deposit into a joint account, the co-signers of the account become owners of the money in the account regardless of the reason of the deposit. Withdrawal by anyone named on the account is not theft nor can it be considered a crime.
The depositor has the right to take legal action against the person who withdrew anything from half to the full amount except if there is another portion or percentage claim decided on between themselves.
In the case of death, the amount in the joint account cannot be inherited. Money from a joint account cannot be included in a will and testimony unless all owners are dead. The last surviving member of the joint account continues to be the only one who can have access. If the person who owns the joint account is just one then that person is the only one who can withdraw the full amount within the account even if, in actual fact, it does not morally belong to him.
In such a case, the heir cannot turn against the bank to seek an inheritance share from a joint account as the co-signer is the only one who can have access. The living heirs of the deceased can seek the portion of the deposit of the deceased based on the internal relations with the co-signer.
Anastasia C. Miliou is an Attorney at Law at the Supreme Courts of Greece with experience in international law and a large clientele in both Greece and abroad. Her telephone number is 6945028153. If you would like questions answered as part of her articles in English online, you can e-mail her at [email protected] or visit www.legalaction.gr
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Any information in this article is not to take the place of your own independent legal advice. The information provided by the author of this article is not endorsed in any way nor is it the opinion or advice of Greek City Times.