Sitting down with a probate or trust lawyer to draw up a Last Will or a revocable living trust is the wise course of action when you are thinking about the future, even if your situation is relatively straightforward. If you assume that you can handle things on your own using very simple solutions you may wind up making mistakes that you regret later on.
One of the things that some people buy into is the notion that a joint account or multiple joint accounts are a viable estate planning solution. If you pass away, the other person on the account will simply assume ownership of the resources. In a similar manner the other account holder would have access to the funds in the event of your incapacitation.
While the above may make some sense on the surface there a couple of things to consider. For one, many seniors rely on Medicaid to pay for long-term care. You have to stay within upper asset limits to do so, and the funds in the account could be viewed as being the property of either one of the account holders by Medicaid examiners.
So if for instance it was entirely your money but your sister was on the account with you her Medicaid eligibility could be affected by this joint account.
Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that anyone that you place on the account has total access to the funds. There is absolutely nothing to stop this individual from cleaning out the account. While you may think that this would never happen, people sometimes surprise you and it is better to be safe than sorry.
And, short of someone intentionally using the money inappropriately elder financial abuse is very common these days and the money could be lost if the other account holder was to be victimized.
There are ironclad estate planning solutions that can be utilized rather than taking any chances with your legacy.