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When I was a kid, my parents would get letters sent to them and a guy named JT TEN WROS. I had no idea who this JT guy was but I always figured it was a friend of my parents or perhaps the English name of a relative. It was always tricky growing up because I never knew anyone’s name (you don’t call relatives by their name, or even an Uncle Joe, you called them by their “rank,” i.e. fifth uncle) so I figured it was just someone’s name. While I don’t think anyone has the last name of “Wros,” you never know what immigration officers can write down as you pass through immigration, right?

It wasn’t until later that I saw the guy appears on my statements, specifically my wife and my Vanguard statements! How’d he get there? Who is this JT guy and how the heck did he get on our account?

Yeah… it wasn’t until later that I learned JT TEN WROS was an acronym. It stands for Joint Tenant With Right of Survivorship. It just means that it’s a joint account and both people hold title to the assets in that account. Full ownership is transfered immediately upon the death of one of the account holders. You don’t have to be married to have an account set up in this way and any two people can do this, they don’t need to be related.

If you think this is a clever way to get past gift taxes and estate taxes, it isn’t. If you and your child joint own an account and you die, you’ve just made a gift of one half of the account’s value to your child, subject to gift and estate taxes. I’m sure it gets a lot trickier so be sure to consult a professional.

Either way, JT TEN WROS is not a person.

What common misconceptions did you have about money as a kid?

{ 16 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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16 Responses to “Who is JT TEN WROS?”

  1. Ha. That’s kind of funny. It’s amazing the things we make up as kids in order to answer things we are unsure of.

  2. kat says:

    haha, I didn’t understand why the bank would pay you for looking after your money for you. It made sense to me to pay the bank if they provided that service.

  3. Brad says:

    My wife’s mom just died and her bank account was JTWROS with my wife and her sister. Who can we even talk to about next steps? Are the $$$ theirs or are they part of the living trust (there are 4 siblings that benefit from the living trust). Please help!

    • CK says:

      It isn’t part of the trust as it wouldn’t be JTWROS if it was. Any money in the account is property of your wife and her sister. If it’s a large amount I would contact a CPA to make sure you aren’t running a foul of any tax implications.

    • billsnider says:

      That I should always get change. This way I never ran out of money.

      Bill Snider

  4. eric says:

    LOL. That was a funny story… I know all about the fifth uncle, third aunt thing…it’s easy but you end up never knowing their names!

    • Shirley says:

      I must have been 50 years old before I realized that the ‘Aunt Mim’ my mother’s cousins spoke of, was actually my grandmother.

  5. MikeZ says:

    Not about money, but my family grew up with a thick Boston accent. The letter R didn’t really exist in our household, except for places where there wasn’t an R. Anyway my mother always talked about her old VW Karmann Ghia. Of course I assumed it was spelled Carman Gear up until I was 20 or so (after the car was a thing of the past). I guess its a car with a built in Boston Accent.

  6. Shirley says:

    When I was very young I thought of money as pieces of money, not denominations. My brother would give me three pennies for a nickel and I thought I had more money. Dad straightened that situation out quickly. I can still embarrass my brother with that story. 🙂

  7. Something that everybody should be aware of. The only problem with this is when there are untrustworthy relatives. I can imagine there would be instances where somebody who is a joint could take advantage of the situation.

  8. jsbrendog says:

    haha this was classic. I would’ve wondered who it was too. nowadays you can just google it. takes the fun out of everything.

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