Yesterday Tuesday February 4, we had a great crowd at the Waverton Hub, which meets in the Uniting Church Hall, just across the road from the station.
We talked about organising your paperwork and knowing your place on the frailty scale, a good indicator of your health.
A question came up early “When my partner dies, will I be able to access our joint bank account?”
Someone did a quick google search and found the official position of Australia’s “big four” ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac banks, is yes, you will be able to.
But that was not the experience of everyone in the room, whose spouse had died. Some could access their funds, some couldn’t.
The way one of them got around this was to open a second account when the death was imminent, transferring most of her funds to that account, someone suggested. But isn’t that a complex extra burden at such a fraught time?
Another person said don’t tell the bank the other signatory has died until it’s convenient to you. But then someone pointed out that the bank will quickly know if funds were withdrawn after the death, because soon they will be sent the death certificate. So that might create more trouble.
All of this is tricky. So I contacted Australia’s ‘Big Four’ to find out. I sent an email which said: “I’ve been told that if I have a joint bank account and my partner dies, the account will be frozen and I won’t be able to access my own funds. Is this true?”
Answers were still coming through as at 6pm, tonight.
So I’ll post these tomorrow.