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Joint Bank Accounts

There is a presumption in New York Banking Law that each joint tenant is the lawful owner of one-half of his/her share of the account.  At any time, he/she can withdraw the entire amount.  This presumption can be rebutted by evidence that the asset was really contributed solely by one of the joint tenants.  Medicaid presumes that an account owned by an applicant jointly with someone else belongs entirely to the applicant and treats a withdrawal by either joint account holder as a transfer by the Medicaid applicant. These rules apply to joint accounts where the financial institution requires only the signature of one joint owner to withdraw from the account. To receive a free copy of A Simple Guide to Understanding the Complexities of Elder Law – a helpful booklet we distribute to our clients which contains definitions and explanations of some important terms – please contact us.