Wednesday, August 6, 2008

FDIC Insurance: Ownership: Joint Accounts Part III

A joint account is a deposit owned by two or more people. To qualify for insurance under this ownership category, all of the following requirements must be met:

1. All co-owners must be people. Legal entities such as corporations, trusts, estates, or partnerships are not eligible for joint account coverage.

2. All co-owners must have equal rights to withdraw funds from the account. For example, if one co-owner can withdraw funds on his or her signature alone but the other co-owner can withdraw deposits only with the signature of both co-owners, the co-owners do not have equal withdrawal rights.

3. All co-owners must sign the deposit account signature card unless the account is a CD or is established by an agent, nominee, guardian, custodian, executor or conservator.

If all these requirements are met, each co-owner's share of every account that is jointly held at the same insured bank is added together with the co-owner's shares, and the total is insured up to $100,000.

The FDIC assumes that all co-owners' shares are equal unless the deposit account records state otherwise.

For example, a husband and wife could have up to $200,000 in one or more joint accounts at the same insured bank and the deposits would be fully insured. The husband's ownership share is insured up to $100,000 and the wife's ownership share is insured up to $100,000.

Insurance coverage of joint accounts is not increased by rearranging the owners' names or by changing the styling of their names. Altering the use of "or," "and" or "and/or" to separate the names of co-owners in a joint account title also does not affect the amount of insurance coverage provided. In addition, using different Social Security numbers on multiple accounts held by the same co-owners will not increase insurance coverage.

Joint Account Example

Account Title*********Deposit Type*****Account Balance

Mary & John Smith***NOW*************$ 25,000

John or Mary Smith***Savings*********$100,000

Mary or John or Robert Smith** *******$150,000

Total Deposits***********************$275,000

Insurance coverage for each owner is calculated as follows:

Depositors**Ownership Share***Amnt Insured**Amnt Uninsured

Mary********$ 112,500************$ 100,000*******$ 12,500

John********$ 112,500************$100,000*******$12,500

Robert******$ 50,000***********$50,000*********$ 0