Do Not Let Your Bank Contradict Your Will

Do Not Let Your Bank Contradict Your Will

Beneficiary designations made on bank accounts and other types of accounts could end up contradicting the terms of your will.

In the event of your passing, beneficiaries are those who inherit from your estate. As part of estate planning, clients are frequently advised to designate bank accounts and other types of funds as being ‘payable upon death.’ This allows the money to go directly to the person listed, allowing them to use it for final expenses while avoiding probate court proceedings. This can be a good thing; however, sometimes banks and other institutions do not explain this and clients think their Will controls. Our Brazoria County Will and probate attorneys located in Lake Jackson can explain common terms used and how they can impact your plans.

Marking Your Bank Account and Other Funds as ‘Payable on Death’

Making sure your financial affairs are in order, your loved ones are provided for, and any final wishes you have are followed are primary goals of estate planning. Creating a will is one of the first steps. It provides an inventory of your property and assets, as well as detailed instructions regarding who is entitled to inherit from your estate.

Upon your death, your estate executor will file your will with the Brazoria County Probate Court or the county in which you last resided. ‘Settling your estate’ refers to the process of notifying creditors, settling estate claims, and paying final taxes before beneficiaries’ distributions are made. Of the utmost concern for our probate attorneys are real estate issues. If the process is not done correctly any real property in the estate can be clouded with title issues, which will not reveal themselves until an attempt to sell the property is made one day.

Designating your financial accounts as payable upon death (POD) can accomplish this in some situations. It applies to funds in:

  • Bank accounts;
  • Retirement benefits;
  • Life insurance policies.

Designating accounts as POD helps in getting much-needed cash into the hands of your loved ones fast. However, it is important to pay attention to the wording on POD forms, as it could contradict the terms of your Will. Moreover, if you have minors designated as beneficiaries problems can arise.

POD and Rights of Survivorship

Under the Texas Estates Code, rights of survivorship imply a jointly held interest in property, allowing it to pass directly from one person to another in the event of death. It is commonly referred to as Joint With Right of Survivorship and grants both of those named ownership and authority over the assets. It is commonly used among married, allowing the accounts to pass from one spouse to the other in the event of death without having to go through probate proceedings.

Unfortunately, having bank accounts or other funds designated in this manner can work against you if there is more than one person with whom you wish to share the funds. Even if you specify that you want others to receive a share of this money in your Will, the bank designation would override it.

Speak with Our Brazoria County Probate Attorneys Located in Lake Jackson, Texas Today

At Cordoba Law Firm, PLLC,, we can protect you against problems in estate planning, such as POD designations that contradict your will. To discuss your case, call or contact our Lake Jackson trust attorneys online and request a consultation today.