I am dealing with an estate in which there are two bank accounts in India. I am told by the Executor that they are held on a ‘Former or Survivor’ basis which apparently means that on each account there are two named people who in this case are the deceased (the Former) and his daughter (the Survivor). Whilst the deceased was alive, only he could operate the accounts but upon his death only the Survivor can operate the accounts. On the basis that the deceased had the beneficial entitlement to the accounts at the date of his death, I would have thought that the value of the whole balances should be attributed to the estate. However, the Executor is absolutely adamant that this cannot be right on the basis that the entitlement to the accounts no longer sits with the estate. Has anyone come across this situation? It will make a significant different to the IHT position so I would like to be sure of my ground!
It is my understanding that it is just like any other joint bank account, with the only difference that it is the first named person who operates the account until their death. Only at that point the surviving joint holder would be eligible to operate the account and/or transfer it into their name.
You need to separate the legal and beneficial ownership.
Although the legal ownership passes to the daughter outright, depending on the source of the money, it may still be included in the father’s estate for IHT purposes.
HMRC usually treats joint account holders as owning a share of the funds which is proportionate to their proven contributions to the account.