Are all beneficiaries of bank accounts “payable on death” or must it be explicitly stated “payable on death” or “POD” on the beneficiary form?

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Are all beneficiaries of bank accounts “payable on death” or must it be explicitly stated “payable on death” or “POD” on the beneficiary form?

Asked on November 14, 2012 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I do not understand your question.  Ordinarily, bank accounts do not have beneficiaries.  They may have co-owners, but that is different from a beneficiary.  If an account has a co-owner, that person automatically owns the account on the death of the other owner.  If the account has a beneficiary, it is some kind of "pay on death" or "transfer on death" account and would be paid to the beneficiary on death.  However, such an account should use the terms "pay on death," "payable on death," "transfer on death," or the like.  If the account does not use those terms, you should ask the bank what the ownership/beneficiary papers mean. 


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