I don’t know what the laws are now. I do know that a few years ago in SA if one partner died and the account is in joint names the account would be frozen until Probate was granted. I don’t know if other states have Probate or not. Also if it is a cheque account, one person signs a cheque as people with joint accounts can do. If not banked quickly enough and a person dies a few days later the cheque will automatically be stopped by the bank even if not signed by the person who died. if a relationship breaks down you can / could ring the bank and freeze a joint account. I know somebody who did that just in time. Lucky she did or she would have been “broke”. You need to have at least some money in your own account (no pin given to partner) in case of an emergency.

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Published 17th February 2020

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