Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Before You Cash In Your Chips, Write a Will (Part 5)

By Marie Bradby

The more common problem is, “Mom wants to make it easy on the family when she dies. She’s got two daughters. She puts one daughter on her bank account as a co-owner to help her out with bills. She doesn’t mean to disinherit the other children. She thinks: ‘When I die, this daughter can divide it.’

Most people think the will trumps everything. But, a beneficiary designation (like bank accounts) trumps the will,” says Lee Cave, an estate planning attorney. “The daughter is not required to share the money.” As a co-owner or beneficiary, the daughter would inherit it all.

“You need a will, but you can make it easier on your family by making beneficiary designations. If it’s a cash account like at a bank, it’s Pay on Death. For an IRA, it’s Transfer on Death. They are considered by lawyers as a will substitute,” he says.

 Extra tidbit: Read more about the benefits of writing a will in part five of this feature.

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