Joint tenant liability

Q: Who has to pay for a contract signed by the co-owner of a joint account after he dies? The co-owner of a joint account has signed a contract shortly before he dies. The invoice was received after his death. Does the invoice for such a contract have to be paid from the joint account by the surviving co-owner or from the (probate) estate of the deceased? The joint account was set up by the deceased so that his bills can be paid in case he becomes incapable.

A: I will answer this the way I understand it the question. Generally, the joint account should have nothing to do with the contract. Unless, there was some weird agreement in the contract that it was to be paid from the joint account. When a person dies, property held in their name only, become an asset of their estate. Debts and bills for services provided to them in their name only, are now debts of the estate. Jointly held property, is not part of an estate. If you are the joint account owner with the dead person, the account balance passes to you by operation of law upon his or her death. The joint account surviving tenant can liquidate the account and close it. He or she will need to pay inheritance tax on the deceased’s person’s half.

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