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Estate Planning 101 – One Quick, Easy (and Free) Thing You Can Do Today!

When people ask me, “Ross, what’s one quick, easy, and cheap thing I can do to help my family when I pass away?” I respond, “Make sure you’ve named a beneficiary for your bank account(s).”


Over the years, I’ve received many calls from family members of a deceased loved one who say, “My mom just passed away,” and then they ask, “How can I get access to her bank account? The bank has frozen the account until I produce court papers, and I need those funds to pay for the funeral.” My unfortunate response is, “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to open probate to obtain a court order, and it may take weeks or even months.”


That’s terrible news to a family dealing with a significant loss. Fear not! You can easily avoid this sad scenario for your family by simply naming a pay-on-death (POD) beneficiary for your bank account(s). Unfortunately, when you open a new account, most banks and credit unions never ask if you’d like to name beneficiaries, and it’s so easy to do.


Just go to your bank or credit union and say, “I want to name a beneficiary for my accounts.” They’ll sit you down, complete their paperwork that designates your beneficiary, and have you sign their form. That’s it! It’s that easy!


If I can help you, a family member, or friend protect the next generation, please contact me at (813) 244-7758 or Ross@RossSpanoLaw.com.

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