If you are planning to get married, you will need to develop a plan to combine your finances as well as your lives. Having a joint bank account is important to many married couples, but without the proper planning those combined finances can become a source of contention. Taking the time to plan properly before you combine your bank accounts will pay off in the end.
Gather recent bank accounts for you and your soon-to-be spouse. Go over your finances thoroughly, including the money you make and the money you spend each month. Pull out copies of your pay stubs and your monthly bills to get an idea of where you stand financially.
Develop a personal household budget before you officially combine your bank accounts. You can download budget templates to use with Microsoft Excel and other popular spreadsheet programs. Detail all of your expenditures, including your rent or mortgage payment, student loan payments, credit card debt, utilities and other expenses.
Decide whose bank account will remain open and which one will be closed. If you both hold accounts in the same institution, you can combine those two accounts, but if you bank with separate institutions, you will need to close one of the accounts and move the money into the joint account.
Stop any direct deposits and automatic payments from the account that will be closed. It can take up to two months for automatic payments and direct deposits to stop, so you will need to wait until that happens to close the account.
Change the ownership on what will be the joint account to add the second name. Designate that the bank account is to be a joint account. Both co-owners of the joint account will need to sign a signature card for the account.
Adjust your direct deposit and that of your soon-to-be spouse to go into the joint bank account. Also change any automatic payments to come out of that account.
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