What are the benefits of a joint bank account?

Opening a joint bank account in France has many advantages. Here’s what you need to know.

The advantages of a joint account compared to a sole account

Bringing money together into one bank account can help people to spend, save and manage their money more efficiently.
There are three key benefits to having a joint account:

  • As owners of a French property it is easier to manage property expenses such as electricity, water and property tax, and for French resident’s income tax payments.
  • If you do not need separate sole accounts, it is cheaper too; reducing your monthly bank fees.
  • If one of the account holders dies or is seriously ill, the other account holder can continue to use the joint account. In the case of death, sole accounts are frozen immediately, therefore restricting access to funds for the other person. It is also not possible to change a sole account into the name of another person.
    Each account holder will have access to the funds in the account using their bank card (one for each person), a cheque book and their own dedicated online access.

Pratical considerations with joint accounts: succession

Understanding what you need to do when a person dies is something we all need to consider– however, there is a clear process to give you peace of mind. The surviving partner will need to provide:

  1. A death certificate.
  2. A grant of probate and /or a will. 
  3. Details of a French Notaire if there is a French property. 

Many banks have dedicated advisers who can start the succession process and liaise with the next of kin and the Notaire. This can take some time; in the meantime the remaining account holder can keep on using the account as normal. They will have access to the joint account, but not to any individual accounts in the name of the deceased. 
Once succession is complete, the account is transformed into an individual account in the name of the surviving person. Inheritance is often complex! Speak to a Notaire or solicitor to obtain specialist advice.

Managing a separation with a joint account

While the account remains in both names, customers have equal rights to the funds available. If the account is overdrawn, each individual is equally liable for the debt.
Separating couples should advise their bank as soon as possible and one of the parties can request for their name to be removed. This enables the bank to convert a joint account into a single account in the remaining account holder's name. One person cannot ask for another account holder to be removed! Of course, the person requesting their removal from a joint account can open a new individual account in their sole name. It is easier to do this before removing yourself from a joint account.

Switch your bank account to CA Britline

Contact us at CA Britline if you wish to open a joint or single French bank account with us. Our friendly team of bilingual English-speaking advisors can assist and help you with all of your daily banking needs in France. CA Britline provides documentation and other services to our customers in English.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Image used is provided by Getty Images.
First published: 20th December 2023