If you hold a joint checking account with your spouse or significant other, you must both follow some rules if you want to close it. These rules encompass all types of joint accounts between adults regardless of the relationship between two account holders. Most financial institutions prefer that you close the account in person, providing proper identification.
Bank Service Agreement
When you open a joint checking account, you must adhere to the terms of the bank service agreement. This agreement defines the relationship of both account holders with the bank as well as stipulate all of the rights of you and your spouse while the account is open. Generally, both checking account holders may withdraw funds at any time and write checks against the account balance regardless of who deposit funds in the account. Equally, both account holders have the right to make a request to close the account.
Consent of Account Holders
Depending on the financial institution’s rules and regulations regarding account closings, you may be required to get the written consent of the other account holder before the bank honors your request to close the account. If this is a requirement at your bank, the other joint account holder must sign the formal request to close the checking account. Most banks have standard forms, providing options for you and your spouse to sign the form. Only one person is required to submit the request to the bank and proceed with the process of closing the checking account.
Joint checking account holders are equally responsible for all transactions that are undertaken through the account. You are responsible for overdraft fees and ensuring that the account is at least at zero balance when you proceed to close the account. If the balance is negative, the bank will not close the account until you or the other account holder restores the balance to zero.
When you close the checking account, the bank returns all funds in the account. You may be required to withdraw the funds at the time of your request, or the bank will send a check of any remaining funds to your address. Some accounts require a minimum balance. If the balance in the account is less than the required minimum balance, the bank may charge you a withdrawal fee at the time you withdraw all of the funds from the account.
Marie Huntington has been a legal and business writer since 2002 with articles appearing on various websites. She also provides travel-related content online and holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School.