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Some bank accounts can be set up and titled in such a way that the funds they contain can pass directly to beneficiaries upon the death of the account holder. Known as payable on death or POD accounts, this strategy allows the decedent’s beneficiaries to avoid some of the administrative delays of probate court.

The beneficiary of a POD account must present valid identification and the decedent’s death certificate to the financial institution where the funds are held, after which they can be immediately released. This strategy can be applied to bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and certificates of deposit.

However, things don’t always run as smoothly as the decedent may have intended. For example, if the decedent’s will identifies multiple beneficiaries and the POD account is paid out in favor of only one person, disputes can arise. The decedent may have intended for the beneficiary of the POD account to divide up the funds equally among all beneficiaries of his or her will, but the person receiving the funds may elect not to honor those implicit wishes.

In cases where there is compelling evidence that the decedent intended for POD accounts to be further distributed, it may be possible to obtain a court judgment compelling the payee to share those funds with other beneficiaries. As circumstances are different in every case, you should discuss the particulars of your situation with an experienced probate attorney.

The knowledgeable legal team at Pollack Pollack & Kogan is here to help if you need to litigate a case involving POD accounts with multiple beneficiaries. To consult with an expert member of our legal staff, contact Pollack Pollack & Kogan by email at, or call 305-373-9676.