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Bank accounts in "dad OR mom OR child". Then "dad" and "mom" die. Who legally "owns" the bank accounts and the money within them? The "child" or the Willed estate?

 
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Editor's Response

Debmal, what you are describing sounds like a joint and survivor account, and they are often used in estate planning.  So the child owns the remaining balance and, in fact, 'owned' the account even before the parents died.  And yes, there is a distinctions between the use of the word 'and' and 'or' to describe the accounts.  When 'or' is used, the account can be managed by either of the 'owners.'  They both own it, can make withdraws, and--because it is a survivor account--will own the money after the other owner dies.
 
Accounts that use 'and' are not survivor accounts, and both parties must sign for various transactions or to close the account.  Ask your bank what terminology it uses.  Many banks no longer offer 'and' accounts because they fear liability in cases of disputes between the account owners.

joint bank accounts

But who is legally entitled to what when a bank account is held as "Sue OR John" vs. "Sue AND John"? It is my understanding the "or" entitles either to empty the entire account without permission of the other and "AND" would require consent of both. Likewise for medicare purposes or other estate purposes the "AND" would "entitle" Medicare to come in and take only half of the money in that bank account - is that true? That was my experience thus far.

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