Severing the joint tenancy of a bank account

I am instructed in an estate where the deceased and his wife both signed a notice of severance "to sever as from this day all joint accounts with my wife . . . "
Is there any issue here as to whether the severance takes effect only over joint accounts held at the date of the notice? Are members happy that it would also be effective over joint accounts subsequently opened?

Context is everything. On these words alone I would a start from the premiss that the notice of severance only applied to already open joint accounts. If the couple were to later open a new joint account why would anyone think an earlier notice had effect?

What positive evidence was there that it might have that prospective effect and correspondingly what evidence that the later- opened account (which is presumably why the point arises) is not joint, as one assumes it must either seem to be or at least be equivocal. The opening of a later account will also have its own context; in the total absence of contrary evidence a non-business joint account will be taken as subject to the right of survivorship. It is for whoever wishes to challenge that to adduce evidence and the earlier notice of severance could be relevant. How probative it would be with any other admissible material will be document- and fact-specific.

Jack Harper

I find it is difficult to understand how agreement today (ie a duly signed notice of severance) can operate to sever equitable joint tenancies in assets not owned at the date of the agreement (ie assets to be acquired in the future).

Under LPA 1925 s36(2) any joint tenancy is irrevocably severed with immediate effect on the date the notice of severance is served. This is impossible if there is no joint tenancy in existence when the notice is served.

Similarly, the other methods of severance require an equitable joint tenancy to be in existence at the relevant time (eg when a joint tenant operates on this/her own share).

Malcolm Finney