You've heard that adding a Joint Owner or Pay On Death designation to your bank account is much easier than creating an Estate Plan. Right...and wrong. There are several reasons that "planning" this way can cause trouble. Here are a few ways issues can arise.
Your estate is responsible for payment of your final expenses. This can include medical bills, funeral expenses, burial / cremation costs, etc.
With Joint Ownership or Pay On Death ("POD") accounts, your assets with transfer immediately as the time of your death by operation of law. If all of your assets are then out of your estate, nothing is left to pay your final expenses.
You think that you have found a trust person to add as a joint owner of your accounts. You've made an agreement with them that when you pass they will split everything up between your children.
This is a twofold issue:
Adding anyone as a joint owner of an account or other property could trigger gift taxes for you.
For instance, if you added your child as a joint owner of your $500,000.00, that could be considered a $250,000.00 gift. A $250,000.00 gift is a taxable event that you would have to address.
If you'd like to learn more about Joint Ownership and POD's or have any other Estate Planning questions, please schedule a complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Session.
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