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Ensuring loved ones’ access to your bank account after your death

Torrance Probate and Estate Planning Attorney

Ensuring loved ones’ access to your bank account after your death

It is often one’s hope that their loved ones have their affairs in order. Assuming that everything will pass onto an heir following their passing may be an incorrect presumption to make. It is very possible that a loved one will not be able to carry out the deceased’s final wishes and funeral arrangements. Thus, it is important to lay out what steps one should take to ease this process while also ensuring that everything passes onto loved ones in accordance with his or her wishes.

Bank account access

It is easy to assume that loved ones will simply have access to their personal bank accounts at the time of their passing, but this is not always the case. Unfortunately, if there is only a single name on a bank account, it can take some time to gain access to it.

As a means to overcome this issue, an individual could designate a bank account. These are referred to as Payable on Death Accounts or POD but could also be called Transfer on Death accounts or Trotten accounts.


By using the above methods, these assets could avoid probate. This means that it would give quick access to these funds to heirs without the need to create a living trust. A living trust is often used to avoid probate; however, it can be complicated to create.

In cases where one has a jointly held bank account, this too would help one to avoid probate. Upon one’s death, the co-owner of the account will have access to the money in the account. While this can ease the process of gaining access to these funds, it should be noted that there are some consequences to this. Because the deceased’s name is on the account, it is likely subjected to creditors. Thus, the co-owner’s own funds could be in that account and wiped out by creditors.

The probate process can be a challenging one to understand and navigate. Thus, it is not only important for heirs to understand the process as it occurs, but it is also important for individuals to fully understand the impact probate could have on his or her estate plan. Thus could give cause to consider ways to ease or avoid the probate process when drafting an estate plan.