Changing Account Ownership: Part 7 of Financial Considerations When You Lose Your Spouse

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

“If you love deeply, you’re going to get hurt badly. But it’s still worth it.” C.S. Lewis

Talk about a romantic love story – C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman embody it. Perhaps your own romance isn’t quite as spectacular – or public – as theirs, but you still have a story that resonates deeply. And when your spouse passes away, even though the love never changes, the change that results from physical loss is painful. Most of the time, dramatic changes are hard for people, and with the disruption comes confusion and a kind of paralysis.

What are some of the initial, financially related changes you need to take upon losing your spouse to keep yourself safe? In our series on how to manage finances after the death of a spouse, we’re exploring tips from FINRA, a reliable financial source. Today, Tip 7: Changing Account Ownership.

Jointly Held Bank, Credit Union, Brokerage, and Other Accounts

For your jointly held bank and brokerage accounts, you don’t need to be in a rush to change things. For example, a Wells Fargo bank account with both of you as the owners is as much yours as your spouses. Eventually you will need to make the change to have just your name on the account statements and the checks, but since these accounts are in both of your names, you will continue to have complete access to them.