If a person adds a second name to a savings account before he dies and that second person is not in the will of the deceased, does the account belong to the second person who is not in the will?
If a person adds a second name to a savings account before he dies and that second person is not in the will of the deceased, does the account belong to the second person who is not in the will, or is it frozen at death for the distribution of funds going to the will?
If the account is titled as joint owners with rights of survivorship, the second owner automatically becomes the owner of the account upon the death of the first. The account will not go through probate and the will has nothing to do with the account. On the other hand, if the account is held as Tenancy in Common, the second owner doesn't automatically own the full account and the will controls who receives it (and it will need to go through probate).
It comes down to how the account is titled! Contact me if you have any other questions.
It is common when a second person is added to a savings account that it is treated as joint with rights of survivorship. This skips past probate as the surviving owner on the account had as much right to the funds as the original owner when they signed up. This is the same reason why it requires all signers to sign away rights if additional owners are added to the account. If you are attempting to avoid adding ownership I would suggest you have the additional person added as a Power of Attorney which allows them to help out while the original owner is alive but in fact has no ownership of the funds. That ability to have any control of the funds will stop if the original owner passes or takes away that right.
What you are referring to is adding a joint tenant to an account. If you do so, that money becomes theirs not only at your passing but immediately via a gift per the IRS that they can do whatever they want with it (via writing a check to themselves and draining the account). You see the money as yours but giving them access to probably pay bills? But this joint account, when not named in the trust will go to them as the deceased falls off the account. This can become a sticky situation with other heirs. Better to add a TOD (transfer on death or POD - pay on death) feature to that account so it goes to the people you want at death.
When a joint owner (joint tenant) on an account dies, the surviving owner gets the deceased owner's share of the joint tenancy property straight away. This is called the "right of survivorship." The property doesn't go through probate, so what's in the deceased's will is not relevant. So, as you can imagine, adding a joint tenant owner to an account can sometimes prove to be problematic.