Shared Account Ownership

Shared Account Ownership

What you'll learn in this article

This article describes how a Shared account is owned, and what that means from a legal perspective. The information you'll find here is super important, and it's a good idea to read through it before opening a Shared account.

Who "owns" a Shared account?

Brace yourself: we’ve got some important legal information to share with you, and it’s going to involve some alarming hypotheticals. We hate to be a downer, but preparing for the unexpected is a key part of smart financial planning.

To help prevent these hypotheticals, we recommend opening a Shared account only with someone you know and trust completely. Take the time to talk about your financial histories and the way you’re planning to use the Shared account before opening it.

Who can withdraw funds from a Shared Account?

Simple Shared accounts are co-owned; each of the joint owners has the legal right to all the funds in the account and the ability to close it without the other owner’s permission.

If you open a Shared account, and the other account owner withdraws all the funds, Simple is not able to pull the money back or cancel any external transfers. (Though you might be able to recover the funds by taking legal action.)

What if a Shared Account balance is negative, or one owner owes money?

Both account owners are responsible for any negative balance in a Shared account, and they’ll both be liable if the account is closed for that negative balance or fraud. Plus, Simple can offset a Shared account’s negative balance by pulling funds from either person’s individual account, even if they weren’t the one to draw the Shared account negative.

Co-ownership also means that the account is subject to levies or garnishments for both owners; if a creditor or governmental agency has a valid levy or garnishment order, the entire balance of the account can be frozen and given to the creditor (even if the order only applies to one account holder).

What if something happens to one person on a shared account?

All Simple Shared accounts are opened as joint accounts with Right of Survivorship. This means that if one of the people on the account dies, their right to the funds in the account immediately transfers to the other account owner (not to the estate of the deceased owner). If you have an end of life document, it’s a good idea to talk to a Trusts and Estates attorney before opening a Simple Shared account.

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Important! Keep your account safe from fraud

As fraud attempts are on the rise recently — especially related to unemployment funds — help us keep your account safe by following these guidelines.

Use your Simple Account only for your own personal use. Don’t share your account with others or receive funds on behalf of third parties.

Don’t share your username or password with others. Never give out your login information. Simple will never ask you to tell us your password — if any third party makes such a request, it’s an attempt at fraud.

Don’t open an account at someone else’s request. If someone else asks you to open a Simple Account — such as a real estate company, prospective employer, or someone you met online — it is likely an attempt at fraud.

Be alert for unemployment insurance fraud. You may be violating the law and the terms of your Simple Account if you receive deposits of unemployment funds on behalf of someone else. There are state and federal penalties for unemployment insurance fraud (including potential fines and incarceration). If you suspect you are a victim of unemployment fraud, contact the appropriate state fraud hotline listed here.

Don’t receive funds on behalf of a third party. Keep in mind that receiving funds on behalf of a third party violates the terms and conditions of your Simple Account; in such instances, we may restrict and/or close your account and hold the funds while we await direction from enforcement agencies.

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