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Joint account (household account)

What is a joint account?

A joint account is a current account. The special thing about it: You lead it together with another person. With some banks, the address of you and the other person must be the same. However, the bank does not care whether you are married, live in a partnership or whether it is just a shared apartment.

The joint account is in the names of both account holders, and both have access to the credit. As a rule, the bank will not convert an existing account into a joint account. So you have to open a new account directly as a joint account.

A joint account is always then makes sense if you run your household together with someone else and share the costs with you. For example, common costs such as rent, bills for electricity or the Internet go from one account. You save yourself discussions about who pays what and whether amounts have to be balanced among each other. Let your salary continue to run on your individual account, which you can also use to pay personal bills.

Disadvantages of the joint account

However, there are also disadvantages to using a joint account. You are jointly liable if the account is overdrawn. This also applies if you have not overdrawn the account yourself. So you should only have a joint account with people you can trust. If the other person has problems keeping their money together and often spends a lot of money spontaneously, a joint account may not be the right solution. Separate accounts are a better choice.

Separate accounts are also better if either of you has one Attachment is coming. If your money is in the joint account, it is affected by the garnishment - even if you did not cause the garnishment. In such cases, you should transfer your money to your own account. It is best to do this when there are first signs of a garnishment, so you avoid possible trouble with the creditor. Because it is legally unclear whether you can continue to dispose of the money after the seizure.

The seized account holder can protect part of his money by storing it in a garnishment protection account (P account). An individual account can be converted into such a P account, but not a joint account. So the seized account holder should also transfer the money to an individual account and then convert this into a P account.

It also becomes difficult when an account holder has a pays a large amount into the account. Since both can access the credit, the tax office may interpret this as a gift and demand appropriate taxes. This is another reason why it is a good idea to have your own account for such situations in addition to the joint account.

A Alternative to the joint account is to give the other person powers of attorney for their own account. They can be canceled at any time. However, as the account holder, you are also liable for overdrafts, for example, even if the authorized representative is the one who caused the deficit on the account.