Content provided by Nate Wattier, CLS Client Services Manager
Earlier this year, I walked a bereaved daughter through the frustrating task of setting up an estate account for a small, individually registered account which had been set up years ago by her recently-deceased mother. Not only was this poor woman coping with the death of her mother but, as the executor of the estate, she also had to deal with the time-consuming chore of the probate process. After about two weeks of nearly daily conversations, the task was done and the funds were moved into the estate account. At one point in our final conversation, she vented about the amount of work that had to be done for such a relatively small amount of money of which she would never see a dime. “Why does it have to be this difficult?” she asked. My response was, “It doesn’t.” I went on to explain that most states allow an account registration type called Transfer-on-Death or TOD (rules can differ from state to state so it is best to do some homework first, see the link below). This registration type allows the account to pass securities directly to a “TOD beneficiary” upon the passing of the account owner. Often, the custodians of the account will simply require a certified copy of the death certificate and an application for the new owner to re-register the funds in their name, but these requirements will differ depending upon the custodian. However, TOD accounts are generally much easier to handle than the traditional probate process.
Taking the time to plan ahead and researching whether or not a TOD registration is right for you is a prudent element of estate planning for today’s modern world – one that could save time and money for your loved ones.