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Joint account contract: issues, law and challenges

Olabanjo O. Ayenakin
Temidayo Akindejoye


One of the most important yardsticks for determining the existence of a banker-customer relationship is the maintenance of an account. There are various types of account a customer can open and maintain.1 However, the type and nature of account opened and maintained by a customer gives rise to a number of legal issues and implications. Joint account is a special account which bears the names of more than one customer. There are a number of legal incidences or consequences that may arise from the contractual relationship of a banker and the joint account operators. These legal incidences range from the drawing rights, obligations and liability of the operators to the joinder or otherwise of joint account operators in legal proceedings, as well as the legal right of a survivor of the joint account holders; if one or more of the operators are deceased. The legal position and rights as well as the obligations of the survivor of joint account operators if the other is deceased is what is called the doctrine of joint account survivorship. The labyrinth of jurisprudential complexities created by case law and statues on the legal position of a joint account survivor are evidently numerous. This paper is an inquiry or a critical appraisal of the legal position, rights, and liabilities of a joint account survivor as well as a critique of the judicial mechanisms for ascertaining the legal position of a joint account contract.

Keywords: Joint Account, Account Holder, Bank, Money