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Joint Accounts

Another recent interesting case in Pennsylvania regarding joint accounts follows the rule of law in the recent Supreme Court case of Estate of Novosielski , 992 A2d. 89 (2010), which reversed the lower Court stating there must be clear and convincing evidence before the statutory provision giving a last will primacy over the right of survivorship presumed by statute in Pennsylvania. In the case of Lanzetta Estate, Vol.1, Third Series Fiduciary Reporter p. 352 (July 2011), the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court found that the joint survivor of a bank account takes precedence over a last will were there is no clear and convincing evidence of a different intention. The Court cited Section 6304 of Title 20 of Pennsylvania Statutes, where it provides “any sum remaining on deposit at the death of a party to a joint account belongs to the surviving party or parties as against the estate of the decedent unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intent at the time the account is created.” The Court held that the only issue is the decedent’s intent at the time the account was created, and the statutory presumption that the decedent intended the joint survivor to take as a surviving party was not overcome.

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