Broker Check

Individual and Joint Accounts

Brokerage Accounts 

Brokerage accounts differ from standard savings accounts and can offer more benefits. Unlike savings accounts which only hold cash, brokerage accounts allow you to buy and sell everything from stocks and bonds to mutual funds, currency, futures and options contracts.

  • Savings accounts don’t offer you access to investments; instead, you’ll earn an interest rate on cash you have deposited.
  • The money in a savings account is FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank.
  • FDIC coverage does not insure investments, including stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Brokerage accounts carry a different kind of coverage, called SIPC. This coverage protects customers if a SIPC-member broker fails, but it does not protect against investment losses. SIPC coverage is up to $500,000 per customer per institution, with a $250,000 limit on cash.

Brokerage accounts vs. retirement accounts

Brokerage accounts are sometimes called taxable accounts, because the money you earn from investments sold within the account can be subject to capital gains taxes. (Interest from savings accounts and other bank accounts is taxed as income, not capital gains.)

That term also differentiates a standard brokerage account from tax-advantaged retirement accounts, like an IRA or a Roth IRA. These accounts also allow you to invest, but with money specifically designated for retirement.

If you’re a beginning investor and your goal is retirement, you should consider a tax-advantaged retirement account. If you’ve maxed out your retirement accounts for the year, or you have another goal for which you’d like to invest, you should consider a brokerage account.

Individual Accounts 

An individual has the option to invest in securities registered in their name alone. The individual has the option to sign a Transfer on Death agreement, assigning beneficiaries to the brokerage account upon death. 

JT/WROS – Joint Tenants With Right of Survivorship
Each tenant owns an equal interest.
All tenants must sign a client agreement.
Upon death of one tenant, the remaining tenant or tenants take automatic title to the property.
A “like registration” at another firm might be listed as JT TEN – Joint Tenants.

TIC – Tenants in Common
Ownership interest of tenants need not be equal, but must equal 100%.
All tenants must sign a client agreement.
Upon death of a tenant, the remaining tenant or tenants do not automatically assume ownership of the deceased’s share, it becomes part the deceased estate.
Clients must fill in the percentage they own on the new account form.

TEN/BY/ENTY – Tenants by Entirety
Can only be between married couples
Such registration is recognized in only certain states (listed below)
Each tenant has full interest
Upon the death of one tenant, the entire assets are transferred to the survivor

COMM/PROP – Community Property
Can only be between married couples
Such registration is recognized in only certain states (listed below)
In community property – all assets accumulated after marriage are split 50/50…this does not apply to assets that were accumulated before marriage
Upon death – if an agreement has been signed, assets accumulated before the marriage will be distributed as requested by the executor of the decedent's will
When we are notified that a client is deceased on a Community Property joint account, we must require the letters of testamentary. We will need authorization from the executor to release funds to the survivor or otherwise if the named executor is not on the account.  A copy of the community property agreement with the death certificate is also acceptable.
Each Comm/Prop state law is different and we can create problems for the estate if we just remove the deceased owner without instructions. In most cases, the property will be turned over to the surviving spouse but in other cases, it needs to be dispersed according to the decedent's will.

Comm/Prop/WROS - Community Property With Rights of Survivorship
A way for married couples to hold title to property, available in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin. It allows one spouse's half-interest in community property to pass to the surviving spouse without probate.

Louisiana law does not recognize certain financial registrations and Joint Accounts are one of them.  If two or more persons open an account they are simply considered to be joint account holders.  When one of the holders is deceased, a court document is needed to allow us to move forward with the account.  For this reason, Raymond James procedures for Joint registration is JTTIC (Joint Tenants in Common.) This registration will alert departments easier to determine if this is a Louisiana account and then how to proceed from there. 

The following lists are the states that Community Property and Tenants by Entirety laws:

Tenants by Entirety States for Personal Property:

District of Columbia

New Jersey

Rhode Island

American Virgin Isands


Community Property States:



New Mexico
Puerto Rico*


*Community Property for Alaska, Louisiana and Puerto Rico does not apply to retirement accounts for beneficiary purposes.