Should I Make All My Accounts Joint and/or Designate a Beneficiary on each? BEWARE!!

September 20, 2019

Your friendly neighborhood branch banker suggests that you change all your accounts to either joint with your kids, or to name your kids as beneficiaries on all your accounts (a “pay on death” beneficiary designation). She says this will make the administration of your estate when you die much less complicated and easier for everyone. Plus, you will avoid “dreaded” probate. Is she correct? It depends very much on each person’s situation, and such changes should not be made without discussing them with your estate planning attorney.

Frequently, the well-meaning banker does not have all the facts necessary to help you decide whether a change in title to your accounts is properly advisable. Assets that pass through a joint account or a pay on death account (that is, any account with a designated beneficiary) are not controlled by your Will; the assets pass automatically upon your death to the named beneficiaries outright. This can have disastrous, unintended consequences and destroy your carefully thought out estate plan.

To read the full article, please click the PDF below.

Reprinted with permission from Lloyd Harbor Life, September 2019.

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  • Related Practice Areas: Trusts & Estates
  • Featured Attorneys: Patricia C. Marcin