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Death Certificate And POD

Lulugate
Lulugate   |     |   1 posts since 2015

Back story:  A very close friend passed away this year. He had no relatives in the U.S. and had been "adopted" into our family. He listed me as beneficiary (through P.O.D) on several bank accounts and I am listed as next of kin on death certificate.  On a separate note (not sure it matters) he had a will which I was executor of.  The will only mentions 3 cars and the contents of his home.  I am not beneficiary to anything on his will.  His home was grant deeded before he passed away to someone else so it didn't have to go through probate. 

Question: If no POD had been listed would the bank have handed the money over to me simply because I was listed on death certificate( it was that simple). I don't think they would have but recipient of home is saying I took money that wasn't for me.   I want to make sure I didn't handle this incorrectly. 

Thanks!



Answers
paoli2
paoli2   |     |   2,224 posts since 2011
Yours is a very unusual situation.  Frankly I don't think you can legally be his "next of kin" just because he lists you that way on his Will but a Will is supposed to pass out items according to the decease's wishes.  He was very wise to make sure he listed you as POD on several bank accounts because those do belong to you at his death.  They, too, do not have to go through probate.  Unless his Will specifically states that he wanted each of those bank accounts to go to you, from my understanding, you would not have gotten them.  Probate courts would have had to decide who was in line to get them.  That is why it is soooo important that people do the PODs correctly with the bank accounts and let the beneficiaries of those PODs know about them and where the banks are.  If your deceased friend has your name on those bank accounts, you should not have any problem receiving them from the banks once you present them with a copy of the death certificate and an ID or whatever the particular bank requires before turning the accounts over to you.

 If he had wanted the recipient of home to have bank accounts, one would think he would have put that person down as the POD on bank accounts.  You shouldn't have any problem with the banks if you are the POD listed.
Ally6770
Ally6770   |     |   1,962 posts since 2010
Depending on many circumstances, including the age and mental condition of the person who left the accounts to you and when your name was put on the accounts and many other factors, relatives can sue in court and win. 
There are many documented cases where friends, caregivers etc have had to give the money to the surviving relatives. 
paoli2
paoli2   |     |   2,224 posts since 2011
I think this would be very hard to win when it comes to PODs.   Greedy people can always sue for anything but I have a feeling those "documented" cases did not involve bank PODs.   I don't think the poster is going to have a real problem with getting these funds. 
me1004
me1004   |     |   537 posts since 2010
Directly answering your question, first, it would depend on how much money was involved. Presuming it was enough money, no, the bank would not have been able to hand it over to you directly. The matter would have to go through probate, and the probate court would decide.

A POD is a trust account,and a trust prevails over a will -- a POD account sidesteps probate. Absent a trust, with or without a will, the matter goes to probate court.
paoli2
paoli2   |     |   2,224 posts since 2011
Wait a minute here.  I have been dealing with PODs for over 50 years and have never been told there were different actions for different sums of money involved.  My info was and is that whatever is the amount of the CD has to be handed over to the POD as long as they provide ID and death certificate and there is no probate involved "ever".  Where are you getting this new info?  If the rules have changed recently, I would appreciate knowing where I can research them.  Do you know what the maximum amount is which causes the bank not to be able to turn over the accounts to the POD and it has to go through probate?  Thanks for any additional info you can provide or where I can find this for myself.

I am getting older by the minute reading some of these posts and I might have to act quickly to make some changes if necessary before I leave this planet.
me1004
me1004   |     |   537 posts since 2010
Yes, paoli2, what  you said is correct. However, I was answering the OP's question, which was, would the bank hand the money over to someone who could identify themselves as next of kind, absent a POD. No, that would generally need to go to  probate. As I said, the POD is a trust account that sidesteps probate. My reference to the amount of money is because at least in many states, the requirement for probate kicks in only when the amount of money involved reaches a certain level and there are no challenges.
Ally6770
Ally6770   |     |   1,962 posts since 2010
A friends husband died and most everything was left to the children and the wife was left with little. A lawsuit was filed and she won. He did this without her knowing and agreeing to this. I also know of cases where the state stepped in and sued when the living spouse was put in a nursing home and the dying spouse left most of the  money to the children. 
paoli2
paoli2   |     |   2,224 posts since 2011
Yes everything you wrote "can" happen but you left out one important point.  Was the money left to the children as POD CDs which were in banks and/or credit unions.  A husband or wife cannot bypass each other even in a Will because a Will is probated.  Everything I was told assures me the bank/cu CD POD bypasses the Will and protects one from actions you wrote about.  When it comes to Nursing Homes, I think everything is up for grabs when the community spouse has to declare "all" their finances.  The POD CDs are included in your total amount because they don't go to the beneficiary until one deceases.  This is why it is sooooo important to leave this earth "before" one gets stuck in a so called Nursing Home or your beloved beneficiary doesn't get the POD CDs.  You are right about the state stepping in to get the money when it comes to Nursing Homes. If the wife won in your first example, I have a feeling POD  CDs were not involved.   
Ally6770
Ally6770   |     |   1,962 posts since 2010
Yes both cases were bank accounts with payable on death beneficiaries. A spouse cannot give money to a child and not leave enough for the spouse to have all of their needs met. That was the ruling. The other one the state went after the money that should have been left to the spouse after he went into a nursing home when he could no longer care for himself. 
paoli2
paoli2   |     |   2,224 posts since 2011
Thank you for the additional info.  It agrees with what I posted.  In both those instances, one can't use CD PODs but in most other instances one should not have a problem with leaving them to whomever you list as the POD.  I don't think the original poster's PODs were in any of these categories so he should get his funds without a problem.