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How can loved ones access your bank account when you die?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Taking care of your loved ones after you pass away is one of the most important things you can plan for. There are several different things that you need to ensure are taken care of as part of that plan.

You need to set your estate plan, but you also need to make sure your loved ones can access financial accounts. There are two main considerations for your bank accounts that you need to think about. 

Set up the Totten trust

Setting up a Totten trust is simple. You simply have to fill out a form at the bank that tells the bank who receives the contents of the account when you pass away. The form is known as the payable-on-death designation. It gives the person access to the account after they provide your death certificate to the bank, but it doesn’t give them access to the account prior to your death.

Know what to put in the estate plan

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make in estate planning is to have the same asset with contradicting instructions. This means that the accounts that are governed by Totten trusts shouldn’t be included anywhere else in your estate plan. By having the account only named in the Totten trust, you take away the chance of forgetting to update the instructions in one place when you change it in the other.

A comprehensive estate plan can help to give you peace of mind and provide for your loved ones when you’re gone. Taking the time to get everything set in the best manner for your circumstances is critical.