When you opened your checking and savings account, you signed paperwork describing how the bank account will work. Do you remember what will happen to the bank accounts after you pass away? P.O.D. is short for "Payable on Death." The P.O.D. form tells the bank who will receive the funds remaining in the bank account when the account owner passes away. Your loved ones and/or your favorite Valley charity may be listed on the P.O.D. form. This is a meaningful way to begin your charitable legacy. It also keeps your bank accounts from becoming part of your estate, which may have to be administered by the probate system in your state.
You may be a joint owner of the account or you may have made a loved one a joint owner. The joint-owner may make deposits and withdrawals during your lifetime. The joint owner may also have "rights of survivorship," meaning that he/she will automatically inherit the account when you pass away. Even if you have a joint account, you should complete the P.O.D. form to assure that the bank knows what to do with the remaining assets when both account holders have passed away. This step will also assure that the account may not become part of a time consuming and costly probate process.