A comment about the small minority of banks and credit unions that require you to provide the Social Security number of beneficiaries on a POD account:
Over the years, on rare occasion, I have gone to open an account at a bank or credit union, and when it gets to beneficiaries -- I choose to list two -- they require, not merely request, that I provide the Social Security numbers of the beneficiaries. They will insist it is required -- and nowadays will blame it on the Patriot Act. But that is just misinformation as it is simply an in-house policy, the Patriot Act does not require you to provide the SS number of your beneficiaries. Geez, your beneficiaries don't even have to have a Social Security number (imagine naming a 2-year-old as your beneficiary - they don't even have an SS number).
I have gone around with some of them, even gone up to the CEO, and sometimes they will waive the "Patriot Act" requirement. But normally, they just don't know what they're talking about and won't budge.
In the end, over the years, I have had to NOT open an account I otherwise wanted to because I don't have the SS number of my beneficiaries to provide -- and I will not open an account without beneficiaries on it. Of course, since that will have been my first-choice account, I end up with a lesser option to fall back on -- but that lesser option does open with beneficiaries without a SS number. The first bank loses my business, and I'm unhappy about having to settle for a lower rate at another bank -- everyone loses because of this stupid requirement.
Ken, I think it might be worth an article sometime on this issue, pointing out banks are not legally required to demand an account holder to provide the SS number of their beneficiaries. I think some of the people making these decisions just think everyone leaves their money to the kids, and that the parents set up the kids' Social Security numbers, so of course an account holder has the SS number of the beneficiaries. NOT SO.
Mind you, a beneficiary does not even have to be a relative. But even if they were, that does not mean the account holder can even dare ask for the Social Security number, much less might they want to. In my case, I want to name my niece and nephew as my beneficiaries. But I don't have and cannot have their Social Security numbers. I can't even ask for such a thing. Besides not being able to ask even if I wanted to, I don't want to -- I don't want them to know they are my beneficiaries and have that influence their decisions in life and finance. But I can give their full names, date of birth, address -- and even list them as niece and nephew. Yes, of course if they were to collect after my death, they would have to provide a Social Security number at that time, but that has nothing to do with naming them as beneficiaries. I have also considered naming people who are not my relatives as my beneficiary, although so far I have not done so, but I should be able to do so, not blocked over a bank policy requiring a Social Security number I can't have.
An account holder can't just ask someone to hand over a Social Security number -- that is highly private information that no one can just hand over to another, for security reasons. Consider, I could name Ken as my beneficiary, he's a good and deserving guy -- Ken, are you going to give me your Social Security number? Well, neither is anyone else -- not even a relative.
This latest issue came up with Quorum Federal Credit Union. So, they lose my account for their 25-month CD at 1.5 APY. They lose, and now I will have to find some lesser option for my account. And I was offended when they told me they have no choice, it is required by the Patriot Act -- they do not know what they are talking about!