When someone passes away, their assets and financials must be dealt with and distributed to the relevant heirs and beneficiaries. The same goes for a person’s bank accounts. However, how a bank account may be transferred to an heir or beneficiary depends on a number of factors, including how the account was titled and other estate planning factors.
A sole bank account is one that was solely in the decedent’s name. If the sole owner of that bank account passes away, one of two things can happen. First, if there is a named transfer-on-death (TOD) or payable-on-death (POD) beneficiary, then the funds will go to that beneficiary. In such a case, there is no need for a probate process. The second thing that can happen is when there is no named beneficiary, in which case the funds in the bank account go to the decedent’s estate. Then, the funds and the rest of the estate are dealt with according to the decedent’s will.
A joint account is a bank account that is owned jointly by two people, with the assets and funds in that account belonging to both parties. If one of the joint account owners passes away, the bank account is automatically transferred to the surviving owner. This is true when both of the account owners are considered joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS). There are many other ways for joint account ownership where there is no JTWROS, in which case there would be a need for a probate process to determine what happens to the funds in the account.
The best way to ensure that the funds from your bank account are transferred to your heirs or beneficiaries easily and quickly is by naming your TOD/POD beneficiaries or adding them as your account holders. All of this falls under estate planning, creating your will, or setting up a trust.
If you have any other questions relating to bank accounts and estate planning that we still need to answer, or if you are searching for an estate planning attorney, get in touch with Evans Case.
Evans Case is a full-service Denver estate planning law firm with over 110 years of experience. We can offer you a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation with our experienced estate planning attorneys to get you started.
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