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Death of Joint Customer

account, balance, names, banker and survivor

DEATH OF JOINT CUSTOMER. Where an account is opened in the names of John Brown and John Jones, and cheques are to be signed by both parties, and Brown dies, Jones may withdraw the balance, but the banker, of course, would require definite proof of Brown's death, e.g. death certificate.

Where an account is in the joint names of a husband and wife, and both of them have to sign each cheque, when the wife dies the balance may be withdrawn by the husband. If the husband dies first, the wife has power to draw a cheque for the balance, if it was the husband's intention that the money should be hers at his death. But if that was not the husband's intention, there appears to be some doubt as to whether the wife may draw the balance. In a case Marshal v. Crutwell, 1875, 20 Eq. 328) where the hus band transferred his account into the names of himself and wife, with authority for either to sign cheques thereon, Sir George Jessel said :—" I think the circumstances show that this was a mere arrangement for con venience, and that it was not intended to be a provision for the %vile in the event which might happen, that at the husband's death there might be a fund standing to the credit of the banking account. . . . I come to the conclusion that it was not intended to be a provision for the wife, but simply a mode of conveniently managing the testator's affairs, and that it leaves the money, therefore, still his property." To prevent any question arising at the death of the husband, a banker should always have a clear arrangement made with the custo mers when such accounts are opened. as to whether, or not, the balance is to belong to the survivor.

In joint accounts which may be operated upon by either party, the form of authority which is signed usually authorises the banker to accept the signature of either, or survivor, upon the account.

The same remarks apply with regard to a deposit receipt in joint names. Receipts in joint names are often drawn as re-payable to " either, or survivor." Even if a deposit receipt in joint names is specifically men tioned in a will, it is nevertheless payable to the survivor, so far as the banker is con cerned.

If a banker receive notice from the exe cutors of a joint account holder, or joint depositor, not to pay the balance to the survivor, the banker would be justified in refusing payment.

\\'here both, or all, the joint holders are dead, the balance is repayable to the legal representatives of the one who died last.

In the case of a joint account which is overdrawn, the estate of the deceased is not, in an ordinary way, legally liable for the debt. It has been held that, where a cheque was signed by the three parties to a joint account and one of them died, the survivors only were liable and not the estate of the deceased. Heber Hart. iii " The Law of Banking," p. 647, says :—" there is no partner ship, but a joint liability is incurred by borrowers (as distinguished from a joint and several liability) upon the death of one, his estate will nut be liable." In practice, a guarantee by the parties to a joint overdrawn account is often taken, so as to render the estates liable upon death.

With respect to articles which are left for safe custody in joint names, upon the death of one of the depositors, the articles should not, as a rule, be given up except on the signa ture of the survivor and of the executor, or administrator of the deceased. (See JOINT