How doesa POD account work?

My stepfather died and his Will states that I get $10,000. He has since then put me on a bank account, not a joint account but a “pay upon death” that has $20,000. Now that he has passed away, am I entitled to all of the money in the bank account?

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Many time this issue comes up when there is a joint account between the beneficiary and the decedent, but here you state that there is no joint account.  Here is the "general" rule, and I put it in quotes because I think that you need to seek help from an attorney in your area on this matter just on a consultation basis:  the titling of assets trumps the terms of a will.  If there is a proper form filled out and with the bank then the assets of the account pass "by operation of law" to you upon the death of the account holder.  Now, you may get a fight on this.  These accounts can sometimes be attacked under a theory of undue influence so the facts of the case matter a lot.  Please get some help here.  Good luck. 

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