Beyond Your Bank Account: What Your Will Should Include for Your Loved Ones.

Will Blog post

Many Americans face uncertainty about handling a loved one’s bank account after death. Almost half of Americans don’t have a will, according to a Gallup poll. This can make things complicated for your loved ones when you’re gone. Having a will allows you to designate who inherits your assets, including your bank accounts.

Many bank accounts allow you to name a beneficiary, who receives the money upon your death. This bypasses probate, a lengthy court process, giving your loved ones quicker access to funds. If there’s no beneficiary, the account goes into probate. This can freeze the account for months, causing hardship for those who might need the money for final expenses.

Joint accounts with “right of survivorship” pass automatically to the surviving account holder upon your death. This also avoids probate. If you die without a will, state laws determine how your assets are distributed. This can be complex, especially with large families. Bank accounts with FDIC or NCUISIF insurance typically remain insured for six months after the account holder’s death.

Here’s how your loved ones can manage your bank accounts after you’re gone:

  • Verify their authority: Only beneficiaries, joint account holders, or court-appointed executors can access the account.
  • Gather documentation: This includes proof of death, identification, and documentation of the account and their legal authority.
  • Contact the bank: With the necessary documents, they can contact the bank to close the account or withdraw funds.

The attorneys at Lord & Lindley have significant experience litigating trust and estate matters. By taking steps like naming a beneficiary and having a will, you can ease the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time. If you need assistance understanding this process, please give us a call at 704-405-1010 to find out how we might assist you.  For more information regarding our firm, attorneys, and practice areas, please visit our website at

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