Deposit Account Ownership
You have options when it comes to who you want to access your money. Below are a few of the choices you have for managing your account.
Payable-on-Death Account (POD)
Adding a beneficiary to your account allows that beneficiary to access your money upon your death and avoiding probate court. This is important because probate court could be a lengthy and costly process to your loved ones. This option also allows you to choose who receives your money rather than the court. You have the option of naming one or multiple persons or charities as your beneficiary. It is important to note that the named beneficiary does not have any rights or access to the account or the money until you pass away. This also does not obligate you to leave any money in your accounts for your beneficiary. You can continue to spend your money as you see fit. Your beneficiary must provide a death certificate and a valid photo ID before gaining access to your account upon your death.
To add a payable-on-death option to your account(s) you simply contact the bank and inform them with the name you want added. You will also need to fill out a new signature card to validate you’re the owner of the account.
Adding a POD to your account(s) allows you to increase your coverage from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) at the bank up to $250,000 for each account that has a POD assigned.
*Note – If you are married or have “joint tenancy” your spouse will have first rights to the account if he/she survives you. Adding a POD to your account will not override the right of the spouse. The POD will only be the beneficiary once both you and your spouse have passed. This also applies if you hold an account jointly with someone, not your spouse. In this case the “right of survivorship” applies and the other surviving owner defaults as the sole owner upon your death.
Many people choose to add an authorized signer to their account in case of an emergency. An authorized signer on your account is allowed to make deposits, sign checks and make withdrawals and in some circumstances, they may be privy to information, such as your account balance and account activity.
Joint Owner of Bank Account
Having a joint owner to your account means that you truly share the same the accesses to the account. A joint owner has the ability to do anything with the account or the funds as you would, such as deposit or withdrawal funds or even close the account. They cannot however, remove your name from the account without your permission.
Right of Survivorship
This is an option you choose to add to your joint bank account. This option states that if one account owner dies, the balance of the account passes to the surviving owner. The benefit of this account is that this option avoids probate court. The risk is that if you both die, your account will not be included in your estate, meaning any instructions you have included in your Will in regards to this account will not be honored.
For additional details, contact your local Bank of St. Elizabeth branch.