Transfer of Death investment designated in will to pay for execution and administration of estate, can this be required by cour

Asked almost 4 years ago - Saint Paul, MN

the deceased had an investment account that was payable on death (POD) to my husband, the executor. However, in the Will, the deceased named this account to be used to manage the execution of the estate and pay expenses and bills, then distribute the residual to the three heirs (my husband not being one of those three). We are of the understanding that a POD trumps the will, and the Will can not require the recipient of POD funds to use the funds for this. Will a court in Ramsey count uphold the rights of the recipient of the POD funds, or require the language in the Will be followed, or is this a grey area?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Douglas M Turbak

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . Contrary to what you may have been told, a POD designation may indeed be changed through "specific reference by will". The end result will depend upon the facts of your situation, but as a general proposition, there is clearly a legal obstacle for your husband to surmount.

  2. Mark T. Coulter

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . The answer is "a little bit of both". Title to the assets in a POD account pass automatically to the POD beneficiary, regardless of what the will says. As a result, the POD designation to your husband will trump the Will in almost all cases. That being said, if there are inadequate assets in the estate to otherwise pay the decedent's expenses, creditors and taxes, then the POD assets are subject to claim by creditors, and may be independently liable for inheritance taxes in your state.

    Please recall that this is general advice of a public nature, and we do not have an attorney-client relationship. Mark T. Coulter is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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