Married couples often want to know if they should set up their bank accounts so that the account will automatically transfer to the remaining spouse when one of them passes away.  For this to happen, the account needs to be set up “with rights of survivorship.”  With the survivorship feature you don’t have to worry about the account being frozen when one or the other dies.  You should check on this if you are unsure how your accounts are set up and change the account if it does not meet your current needs.


You should also check life insurance policies to see who are the named beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries.  It can be a good idea to make your estate or trust the beneficiary so that the proceeds are distributed according to your estate plan.  Otherwise, the insurance proceeds will go directly to the named beneficiary and skip your estate.  Make sure you know who your beneficiaries are and review the policies any time you change your estate plan.

You can also set up bank accounts to be payable on death or POD to a certain person or persons.  Likewise you can set up investment accounts to transfer on death (tod) to a named beneficiary or beneficiaries.  You should make sure all of your accounts are set up the way you want them now.   Remember, if you execute a will it will not change a survivorship feature on an investment account or bank account.  It will not change a beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy either.