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Asset Management: Avoid Adding People Onto Your Accounts As A Joint Account Holder

How To Title Your Assets So They Are Distributed The Way You Intend


Unfortunately this happens on a regular basis. And it may cause some unexpected problems with maintaining control of your assets.
Here is a scenario: You are having health care issues or lost a spouse and need some help. Your banker, trying to be helpful, suggests adding your daughter to your accounts. These accounts may hold the majority of your assets. You may not realize making her a joint account holder gives her unlimited access to the accounts. In the unfortunate event of financial difficulty in her life, she may draw money from the accounts and she is authorized to do so in any amount. Additionally, if you die, she is the only one who inherits the assets in those accounts even if you wanted them to be equally distributed to your children.
To avoid this problem, there are 2 other ways to title assets that I recommend.
1. Execute a durable power of attorney that authorizes a family member to help you. This person becomes your agent. Go to the bank with your power of attorney document and your family member and put him or her on the account as an agent under durable power of attorney. Your agent has fiduciary duties only and cannot spend any money on personal items. This protects you from exploitation by your agent.
2. I recommend you also complete a pay on death designation on the account so the money is equally distributed to whomever you wish. This will insure your assets will pass the way you intend it. 
We can help you create power of attorney document along with a will, designation of health care surrogate, and exploitation prevention techniques to protect you.
We will guide you through each step following all legal guidelines-you will not have to figure it out alone. Let us know how we can best help you by contacting our office at 352-379-1900 or through our website.
Connect with The Miller Elder Law Firm: 352.379.1900
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headshot of miller elder law firm founder and attorney shannon millerThe Miller Elder Law Firm Shannon Miller, founder of The Miller Elder Law Firm, is a Florida Bar Board Certified Elder Law Attorney practicing in Gainesville, Florida. Ms. Miller is a member of the Florida Bar Elder Law Section’s Legislative Committee, a Past President of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA), and is a frequent speaker on elder law issues. She is highly specialized in handling financial exploitation cases and recovering assets for its victims. Other practice areas include guardianship, wills and trusts, probate, estate planning, special needs planning, medicare planning and asset freeze litigation. Ms. Miller also serves as an expert for exploitation legislation impacting the state of Florida by protecting vulnerable adults. If we can help you and your family with any elder law issue, please contact us at 352.379.1900.