No one can completely prepare for the loss of a loved one. Whether loss is expected or sudden, the weight of grief can be overwhelming. But there are steps to take to ease the burden on family members left behind.
How To Prepare Your Accounts:
- Start by talking to your loved ones. Although it can be an uncomfortable conversation to start, it’s worth expressing those plans ahead of time.
- Consider adding a Power of Attorney (POA) to accounts to assist with paying bills, balancing your checkbook and ensuring accounts are in order if illness makes it difficult. Remember, POA powers cease upon death. So it’s important to:
- Consider adding a Payable On Death (POD) to accounts. If PODs already exist on accounts, periodically confirm all their contact information is up‐to‐date and make sure to add PODs onto any new accounts that are opened.
- Organize records & consolidate bank accounts when possible.
Don’t Have A POA or POD Option?
Perhaps you don’t have any survivors. Perhaps your family relationships are strained and you’d rather not leave that burden on your loved ones. Perhaps your banking is a bit more complex. Consider an independent trustee. Independent Trustees can help with trust administration, trust and estate settlement, power of attorney and bill paying services. An independent trustee can act in a number of roles. For example, Horicon Bank’s Trust Administration service can act as trustee, personal representative, executor, power of attorney or agent. If you are interested in learning more about Horicon Bank Trust Administration, contact Chris Berens at email@example.com.
What Happens To The Accounts Upon Death?
- Accounts will be locked upon death. No bills can be paid or checks written out.
- Internet Banking access will also be terminated
What to Expect If You Are a Beneficiary:
- You must provide a valid ID, SSN Card and death certificate to gain access to any funds.
- You will be asked to complete a POD Beneficiary Claim Request for payout of funds. This is a notarized document that must be completed by all beneficiaries.
- If there are multiple beneficiaries, the financial institution will split the funds into equal parts.
**Please note: This is how Horicon Bank handles multiple beneficiaries and it may not be in line with all financials. We do allow customers to designate contingent beneficiaries and name specific percentages on HSA and IRA products, just not deposit accounts.
What to Expect If No Beneficiaries are Listed:
If the deceased’s assets total under $50,000 and no Estate account is being established, you may be able to complete a Transfer by Affidavit. When presented along with a death certificate the financial institution can close the accounts and release the funds.
You will need to work with the courts to be appointed Personal Representative of Estate. To establish an Estate Account, bring a Domiciliary Letter, EIN Number for the Estate and Death Certificate to the financial institution
What to Expect If You Are Joint Owners on the Account and One Owner Passes:
- The account will not be locked and the surviving owner will retain access to pay bills, write checks, etc.
- You will continue to be able to deposit checks made payable to the deceased into the account (examples: rebates, refunds, monetary gifts from the funeral, etc.)
- Work with the financial institution to remove the deceased as a signer on the account by bringing in the death certificate when you’re ready. You will want to remove the deceased signer for tax reporting purposes. Take this time to discuss with your banker options for listing another person on your accounts such as a POA, POD or secondary signer.
- Keep in mind, it is very common for one spouse to handle the household banking and if that person passes, the remaining account holder may need extra assistance learning to balance the check book, automate billing or using Internet Banking. Don’t hesitate to discuss these services with your banker to learn how to manage your finances efficiently.
Regardless of your age or economic situation, proper planning is essential in ensuring that your assets will be preserved and distributed according to your intentions. Vesta can help you decrease problems and expenses, reduce taxes at the time of your death, and help you plan for conserving and managing your estate after death. Contact us today to get started and for more great tips on banking reach the team at Horicon Bank.