A convenience account, also known as a “convenience checking account” or a “nominee account,” is a financial arrangement. It is primarily designed for managing various financial transactions efficiently. A Convenience account serves as a versatile tool. It allows account holders to conduct a wide range of financial activities. These activities may include bill payments, check deposits, and money transfers.
A Convenience account can be a good alternative to Powers of Attorney because it allows one person to use another person’s account to pay bills.
When and How is a Convenience Account Set Up
A Convenience account is typically set up under various circumstances, and the process is relatively straightforward:
- For Individuals: Many individuals set up convenience accounts when they want a simplified method for managing their finances in NYC. You can open a convenience account at your preferred bank or financial institution.
- For Business Purposes: Businesses often open convenience accounts to manage their finances efficiently, handle transactions, and make payments to vendors and employees.
- For Securities Trading: Convenience accounts can also be used as nominee accounts for securities trading. Investors and businesses may open these accounts to facilitate their investment activities.
Presumptions under NYC Banking Law 675
NYC Banking Law 675 introduces certain presumptions that apply to convenience accounts, helping to clarify the legal framework governing these accounts:
- Capacity: It is presumed that the account holder has the capacity to open and operate a convenience account. This presumption simplifies the account-opening process and makes it more accessible for individuals and entities.
- Authority: If an individual is acting under a power of attorney, it is presumed that they have the authority to open, maintain, and transact on a convenience account on behalf of the account holder.
- Fiduciary Duty: The banking institution is presumed to owe a fiduciary duty to the account holder, ensuring that the account is managed with the utmost care and diligence.
Benefits of A Convenience Account in NYC
- Simplified Financial Management: Convenience accounts are designed to streamline your financial activities. They offer easy access to various banking services, making it simple to manage your money effectively.
- Faster Transactions: In the fast-paced environment of NYC, time is of the essence. Convenience accounts enable quick and efficient financial transactions, including check deposits, withdrawals, and online banking.
- Bill Payments: With a convenience account, you can easily set up automated bill payments, ensuring that your bills are paid on time, without the hassle of writing checks or visiting a bank branch.
- Nominee Services: Convenience accounts can be used as nominee accounts for securities trading, providing flexibility for businesses and investors.
- Accessibility: Most banks and financial institutions in NYC offer convenience accounts, providing residents and businesses with widespread access to these services.
- Online Banking: Many convenience accounts come with online banking features, allowing you to check your account balance, transfer funds, and monitor your transactions from the comfort of your home or office.
- Customer Support: Banks in NYC often provide excellent customer support for convenience account holders, making it easy to address any issues or concerns promptly.
Disadvantages of a Convenience Account in NYC
Convenience accounts can often lead to estate litigation. Technically a convenience account is just an account where a person can have access for purposes of paying the bills of another. When the original owner dies, the person who is on the account for convenience purposes only should technically relinquish their rights to that account.
Sometimes, however, this does not happen. Sometimes, the person whose name has been added to the account takes the position that the funds in the account now belong to them. Thus, the person whose name was added for convenience purposes now says that the account was a joint account.
This can lead to unnecessary litigation over the ownership of the account. Indeed, what was once intended to be a simple method for bill payment has turned into an attempt to convert assets.
Factors to Determine Whether it is a Joint or Convenience Account
Litigation over whether an account is a joint or convenience account is very fact specific. Indeed, cases turn on:
- Who deposited the money?
- Who paid interest on the money?
- Who earned the money?
- What does the signature card say?
- Did the Decedent ever state their intention to make the account joint or convenience to a disinterested person?
- Whose name was listed on the 1099 statement?
How Does one Litigate a Joint or Convenience Account?
Typically, an heir or distributee learns of the existence of said account and must then obtain Limited Letters of Administration in order to have standing to commence a lawsuit on behalf of the estate. After obtaining the Limited Letters, the distributee must then commence a Discovery and Turnover Proceeding. The purpose of this proceeding is to bring the funds back into the estate. If the work was done to benefit the estate, then the person who commenced the lawsuit can also move to have their fees fixed pursuant to SCPA 2110.
Convenience accounts in NYC can sometimes provide a practical solution for people to manage their finances efficiently. However, you should carefully note whether the account was intended to be joint or convenience. This way unintended consequences can be avoided.
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