Top Tips to Use When Closing a Joint Bank Account

Written by Karen Bryan

Opening your own bank account is something that most people do the moment they get their first job. For some, that could be during their teenage years, or possibly younger if their parents opened one on their behalf to get them started on savings. As you move through life and end up getting married, there’s a good chance you will open yet another bank account – this time a joint account between you and your spouse. While it’s not a necessity, it seems most couples see the advantage of having a joint account.

So what happens if you reach a point where that joint bank account is either no longer necessary, or you and your spouse split? How do you go about closing an account held in two names? Here are some tips on how to close a joint bank account that will make the process as simple and painless as possible.

Make Sure the Division of Assets is Done in Advance

Before you attempt to close off the account, it’s very important that you both discuss the division of assets. If you are going through a separation or divorce, then finances have probably been discussed and terms have been agreed upon. By law, the assets in that account belong to both of you, so this is why a separation of assets needs to be agreed upon before closing the account.

It may be necessary to get legal assistance during this stage, depending on the relationship you have with the account co-holder, the reasons for closing the account, and whether you both agree on the division of assets.

Make Sure All Remaining Balances are Paid in Full

If there are any payments or bank fees outstanding, you will need to make sure you pay these off. This needs to be done before you go ahead and close the account. The same goes for any deposits you are expecting, allow those to come through first. You basically want to be sure that all activity stops on the account before you close it.

Visit the Bank in Person

In the majority of cases, you will be required to visit the bank in person, with both of you present, in order to close the account. One person isn’t able to close a joint account on their own. The bank will ask you for valid photo ID, so make sure you’ve got it on you. You will also need to fill out some paperwork.

When There is a Death of a Joint Account Holder

There is an exception to the division of assets and closing the account together in person, and that’s if one of the account holders dies. Should this happen, all the assets automatically belong to you; you will need to bring a death certificate to the bank in order to close it out on your own.

A Few Steps to Follow

While closing a joint account requires a few important steps, as long as the process is done together, it should go relatively smoothly.