As Mom's executor I have been getting an education in financial matters about things I had not considered for myself. So this post is more a list of recommendations than a request for advice.

1. Do all of your financial accounts have updated beneficiaries? Each account should have a named beneficiary. Mom's saving account did not and we can't access the money unless we go to probate. I checked mine and several are deceased since I last checked.

2. Do you have a co-signer on banking accounts? POAs are null after a death, having a co-signer allows that person to write checks and pay bills after your death.

3. Does your life insurance have living beneficiaries named? Mom's policy named my deceased father! The policy will now be divided between myself, surviving siblings and a niece. I have to get a copy of my brother's death certificate to prove his death. Do you know where that policy is? It might have to be surrendered for it to pay out.

4. Do you have a will? Is it updated and have the beneficiaries you want? In 10 years I have lost both parents and a brother who were named. And the 8 nieces and nephews I had named are all grown up and well established and don’t need my money anymore!

5. Do you have the correct executors? I checked mine and have decided to change them to people who are much younger than myself. If I live to age 90 they will still be young enough to handle things.

5. Do your retirement accounts have beneficiaries? If not the money will have to go to an account and the estate probated before the funds can be distributed as a will directs.

6. Do you have a current POA and MPOA? Are the people named still the ones you want to handle things? Are they still willing? Is that person a co-signer on your banking/checking account? They will need to be able to access your checking account is necessary.

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Great list!
I really wish we had "payable on death" on regular bank accounts in Canada but it's not an option.

This is such good advice. I would also advise that you let all heirs and executors, and etc know. For instance, if you have an account on which the names are "Me POD (pay on death) my daughter (assuming names put in), then let your daughter know of this account. My banks specifically TOLD ME they do not notify beneficiaries. My brother left an account his name, his ex partner pay on death. No one notified the ex partner. Eventually this would go to the ex partner's SS number and there would likely be a way to find out, but ex partner is incapacitated and with a Fiduciary. So it was up to me to let him know. So if you place someone as POD on an account, let them know where it is, and be certain someone will notify them of your death.
Cali is SO RIGHT about leaving an account POD to the person who will be handling things, as settling a Trust, an Estate, takes time. And there are things like funeral costs that come due right away.

I just to say that having a “payable on death” beneficiary on at least one bank account with at least a couple hundred if not thousands of dollars, can make life much easier for your loved ones when you die. It gives them almost immediate access to those funds which can be used to pay for funeral expenses and other expenses that occur when someone dies. It’s also one less asset that needs to go through probate before you can touch it. When my MIL passed, we had the death certificate within days & her children who were all named as POD beneficiaries, were able to go to the bank, withdraw the money and close her personal checking & savings account and be done with it. It really made things easier that she had made them POD beneficiaries.

Frances73, thank you for the easy to understand suggestions :)

When my parents were still alive I remember reading my parent's Will, as I had a copy. Oh my gosh, it was older than dirt. Half the people mentioned in the Will had passed on, and heaven knows where on earth could I find their heirs. I was so glad I had my parents go to an Elder Law Attorney to re-do their Will to represent this century.

This is a great reminder post.

Here in Canada most funeral homes and investment companies will give out a book where people can list all their pertinent details. It makes it easy double check if you need to update information.

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