Major Changes Proposed for the Liquor Control Board

Pardon v. Expungement

Queen's English - Historically Speaking

Have A Will, Keep It Current

Latin Lovers Meets Truth or Consequences

Using Experts in Personal Injury Cases

We Have a Tax Code. Yea! Boo!


Avoiding Collection Problems

What are the Statutes of Limitation?

Oral Modification of a Written Lease

Creditor Beware - Preferences in Bankruptcy

Latin Lovers 2010

Your Right to Know

Woodman, Spare that Tree!


Do's and Don'ts when Ponzi Knocks

The New Law on Home Improvements

PA Lawmakers Help Developers by Extending Permit Deadlines

The Roth IRA Conversion Window- - for You?

Unemployment Compensation - The Basics

Presume At-Will Employment with Exceptions

The Queen's English The Verbs To Lie (down) and To Lay


There's No Place Like Home (For Your Business)

Protecting Our Hershey Bar!

Time to Buy (or Sell) a Business?

Reminder: Some 2010 Income Tax Credits

A Night Out Turns Lethal - - Whose Fault?

Severance Packages and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act


The Terri Schiavo Story Five Years Later, Still an Avoidable Tragedy

Winning Before Trial: Summary Judgment

Can't Get No Satisfaction...(At Least Without Legal Assistance)

The Queen's English -- Which-Hunting

Curb That Frisky Pup!

Significant New Tax Incentives for Employers


Joint Ownership and the Consequences

When is a Worker an Independent Contractor or an Employee

An Irrepressible Tide, Pardner!

Employee Claims and Bankruptcy

Joint Ownership of Bank Accounts

Cell Phone Records and the Fourth Amendment

Haiti Charitable Contributions Deductible for 2009















Joint Ownership of Bank Accounts

In related articles in this and recent issues,  we have discussed the effect of joint ownership of bank accounts.  In one article we noted the general rule that the right of survivorship (which causes the ownership of the entire account to pass to the surviving owner) that arises from a joint account overrides the provisions of a will, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the decedent wanted the account to pass by the will.
However, there is a new judicial quirk added to this analysis.  In two relatively recent cases, In re: Estate of Piet and In re: Estate of Novosielski, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has stated that in the event that a joint account with right of survivorship is established after the execution of a valid will, the provisions of the will override the terms of the bank account.  This is a dramatic departure from previous law on this topic.
As an example under the previous interpretation of the law, if A and B owned an account, as joint tenants, and A died, B would succeed to the whole account irrespective of what A's will had to say about the disposition of A's property.  However, under the two new cases, if A & B are joint owners of an account, and A has made a will prior to the account's being set up that gives the account to a party other than B, the pre-existing will provisions were viewed by the Superior Court as overriding the right of survivorship that otherwise would arise from joint ownership.  Oddly, the Piet Court indicated that if the will was made after the account was established, this would not defeat the right of survivorship implicit in the joint ownership of the account.
Again, this is a departure from existing law.  It also ignores the fact that jointly owned property in anything but bank accounts, is not affected by the terms of a will, whether that will is made before or after the property is made joint.
It should be noted that the holding in the first of these cases is now being reviewed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and it will be interesting to see whether this aberration from existing law will continue to survive the Supreme Court's review.   We will keep you posted on further developments.
- BBC&B 


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