Monday, July 2, 2012

Want Pay On Death Cards? Bring Your Patience Along

Upon getting married my husband and I updated our estate planning documents.  Part of the process was completing pay on death cards (a.k.a. PODs) for our credit union accounts.  The accounts were in both our names, but I wanted to make sure we had secondary beneficiaries named.  That is how a lawyer thinks; if we both die, then the money should go to....

My husband, an electrical engineer used to handling finances, did not want to put all the paperwork on me, so he offered to call the credit union for the cards.  Here is how the conversation went:

Husband: Yes, I just got married and my wife wants PODs put on our accounts.
Customer Rep: Sir, I see that the accounts are joint.  Your wife doesn't need to worry about PODs.
Husband: Hmm, she said we really needed them.  Would you send the forms?
Customer Rep:  Oh sir, your wife is confused.  If you die the assets will go to her because they are joint.  You don't need these cards.
Husband: Hmmmm, my wife is an attorney.  Specially an estate planning and probate attorney.  She said we needed them...
Customer Rep: I'll send them right out sir.
The Customer Rep was trying to be helpful.  But, she was not an attorney.  She was not approaching this like an attorney.  I wasn't concerned about the monies if my husband died, but rather if we both died.  By having PODs the accounts would avoid probate; avoiding the 0.2 percent probate fee and available almost immediately to the family we had named.  PODs, TODs, beneficiary forms, etc can be very useful.  Setting them up will take patience.
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