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Steps to take when closing a joint account

Virginia residents often share a bank account with their spouse. If the need arises to close the account, it can generally be done without the consent of the other person or people on the account. However, it may be best to have everybody on board with the closing to ensure that all parties know what is happening with the money.

Typically, a bank or credit union will ask that the account be closed in person. In some cases, it may be possible to mail or fax a request to close a joint account. Online banks may require that each person on the account enter their login information before the request can be granted. Prior to closing an account, make sure to cancel all payments to creditors made from it, and be sure not to make any deposits as this may reopen the account.

If an account is shared with a spouse, the money inside of the account is usually considered joint property if the marriage comes to an end. It may also be a good idea to determine if other sources of income are considered joint or separate property. In general, if the money was earned during the marriage, it is considered joint property unless it was a gift or inheritance intended for one person.

Issues such as property division can be complex and difficult to resolve in some divorce cases. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to talk with an attorney to learn more about the options that are available. In some cases the attorney can assist in negotiating an equitable settlement agreement.

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