Does a Will Trump a Paid on Death Account?

When thinking about your estate plan you might consider several tools: last will and testament, paid on death accounts, transfer on death accounts, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, and power of attorney.   The simplest of which is a paid on death account.  These accounts, also known as “PODs” are accounts such as: bank accounts, savings, retirement, etc.  When you open a bank or retirement account (such as an IRA) you are always asked to designate a beneficiary of the account in the event of your death.  But what happens when the beneficiary in such a POD is contrary to that of your will?

For Example:

It’s a tragic day for you after finding out that your father just passed away.  You knew he had a 401k along with several retirement accounts but you feel safe knowing that his will left everything to you and your sister.  However, several weeks later you learned that your father never changed the beneficiary’s on the retirement accounts after divorcing your evil step-mother.  You know wholeheartedly that your father never wanted any of his estate to ever go to your step-mother.  In fact, your father purposely drafted the will for that reason.  Is there anything you can do?

The short answer is no, you likely will not receive any of the funds in the retirement accounts unless you file a costly lawsuit.  In Ohio, paid on death and transfer on death accounts trump a will.  Thus, even though your father may have wanted you to get his inheritance, he should have changed his designated beneficiary on his retirement accounts.

It’s sad, however, this situation occurs all too often.  To ensure your retirement accounts and estate plan is accurate, contact Cleveland, Ohio attorney Dan Baron at Baron Law, LLC.  Attorney Dan Baron will help you ensure that the transfer of your assets is a seamless process.

Contact Cleveland, Ohio attorney Dan Baron at 216-573-3723 for a free consultation to learn how you can create a tax-beneficial estate plan.  Baron Law serves the greater Cleveland area in the areas of estate planning, trusts, wills, power of attorney, tax planning and more.