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Old 06-11-2018, 10:37 AM   #61
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I interpreted Marko's comment to be that the "small estate" exemption amount is $4k in Mass to avoid a full probate and that POD/TOD would still bypass probate.
Thanks, that's what I meant. Regardless, even if the assets need to pass through probate, a joint account set up prior to death would avoid the issue altogether and make a POD unnecessary
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:14 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by marko View Post
As parents age, this story demonstrates a good reason to create joint accounts with them. Then you can do whatever you want.
When my DF got up in his mid 80's, my brother and I went to the bank (with Dad) and had our names put on his accounts. Worked out well later. Of course, there are potential problems doing this, but it worked out for us. I would advise having at least a smallish checking account with joint owners. When we get a older, we'll probably add our kids to our main checking account to help with the process.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:04 PM   #63
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Are you saying with POD / TOD a bank account with more than $4K in MASS , does not get transferred until probate is done ?

Once probated, what does the bank do, considering the WILL may split money up differently than the POD / TOD, which one wins ??
Any POD overrides any will.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:21 PM   #64
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1. Bank officer totally missed the fact that I said the account was payable on death to me and looked up the procedure for someone simply claiming to be an heir. If that is the case, then he made an error and explained the situation wrong to the back office. But, he gave the instructions that would apply if the bank account is not POD. I did say payable on death several times. He mentioned that the POA ended at death (I told him I knew that). But, maybe he was a newish person at the bank and just didn't pay attention to the POD part of it (hard for me to believe since I said it several times but...)
Looks like he confused POA and POD. I’d guess if you talk to someone else and not mention POA, except to correct them if they talk about POA, you’ll get the matter settled easily.
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:05 PM   #65
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Looks like he confused POA and POD. I’d guess if you talk to someone else and not mention POA, except to correct them if they talk about POA, you’ll get the matter settled easily.
Maybe even better, use the words "Payable On Death Registration" instead of the acronym. Less chance for the bankers to start mentally going down the POA path if they never hear PO*.

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Old 06-11-2018, 04:15 PM   #66
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Our lawyer labelled everything possible as “Transfer on Death” to our kids—I agree that POD could have been misinterpreted as something different. Hope it gets straightened out ASAP, Katsmeow.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:24 PM   #67
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Let me start out by saying that I now have my money. I am not going to say what bank it was as this all worked out. That said, there were a couple of mistakes make by the bank. On the other hand, the banker who helped me get this straightened out was incredibly awesome and did a wonderful job.

So, this all ended up being complicated. We were moving into our new house and there was a branch of the bank nearby so I stopped by there. I told the banker that I had gone in to a different branch to get paid on my mom's account that was payable on death to me (FWIW, I always used the full terms payable on death and power of attorney -- some of the bankers used POD and POA but that wasn't how I termed it at the time).

I told him that the banker at the other branch basically said I needed to go through probate if the amount was above a certain amount. This new banker immediately interrupted and said that was wrong. It doesn't matter how large the account is if it is payable on death.

He then looked up the account. And - the first mystery was solved. The account was shown as being in my mom's name. Then the next line had my name with POA typed after it. He said that if it was payable on death then POD would be typed after my name. Therefore -- according to what was there on the screen -- the account was not payable on death. Of course, there was more to the story.

I told him that when I had gone in to use the power of attorney, I had specifically asked that banker if it was payable on death to me. That banker said that it was (this was not the same banker who had told me last week I had to go through probate).

Now here was where this guy really started working to figure out the problem. He asked me what branch I had gone to. I had gone to the one close to my mom's house mostly because it had her safety deposit box so I wanted to let them know she was deceased. The banker made the comment that at that branch they probably didn't see a lot of POAs.

While he didn't say it explicitly, I knew what he meant. My mom's branch is located in an area that, well, isn't very affluent. But, the branch I was at this week is in a very affluent area and they likely see POAs much more frequently.

He looked through the events on the account and he said it was obvious to him what happened. Basically, when the original banker set me up as POA that banker had my status as POA replace my status as POD. He said that their computer system form has a dropdown menu which allows two lines. Before I went in and was added as POA the account clearly showed my name followed by POD on the second line. That was just as my mom established it years ago.

But, when the banker added my name and POA, the banker removed the POD designation. He said it is possible to have both someone as POA and POD but this has to be manually done. You can't just use the dropdown.

It was clear that he felt that the original banker just didn't know that so when I was put in there as POA it replaced the POD designation. Therefore, when I went in and asked to be paid the system didn't show me as the POD beneficiary.

Of course, I immediately pointed out that this was a big error on the part of the first banker. No one asked for my beneficiary designation to be changed. The banker simply did it through error. I made it clear that I expected the error to be corrected.

The banker I was talking to agreed with me completely that this was the bank's error. I sat there while he did everything he needed to do to get me paid. I listened to him explaining the situation succinctly but completely to 4 different people. The upshot was that it was agreed to pay me the money.

I can't stress too much how impressed I was with this banker. He clearly understood my problem and he carefully went through the account and transactions to figure out the issue. He called all the people who needed to be called to get this taken care of and explained this in a way that made it clear what had happened. He very clearly advocated on my behalf at every step. For that reason alone, I will probably continue to do business with the bank.

On the other hand, there were some pretty egregious errors made. The original banker made a very serious error. In this case, I would have gotten the money ultimately but it would have been delayed. What I learned from that is that it may really make a difference which branch you go to. In particular, it is probably not a good idea to go to a branch with an issue that is not as likely to be routinely handled at that branch.

The other big error was with the banker last week. I repeatedly said to that banker that the account was payable on death to me so I didn't understand why I had to go through probate. That banker kept saying that was what the back office said I had to do. This was wrong on multiple levels. First, the dollar limit that I was given for POD was non-existent. What I think the dollar amount was that the banker was referring to was the amount an estate had to be to not be eligible for a small estate affidavit. Of course, that has nothing to do with any alleged POD limit. I think that banker was just confused.

The other issue was that the banker last week never once told me that the account was not payable on death to me. Had that been said, then I would have started down the path to figuring out what happened. (That said - I am sort of glad that didn't happen because I don't think that banker could have handled things as well as the guy I dealt with this week).

FWIW, as amazing as it may sound -- I really wonder if the banker last week even knew what it meant for a bank account to be payable on death. I wonder if that banker may have thought that I was using "payable on death" to simply mean that the account was one I was inheriting. But, I don't really know.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:35 PM   #68
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Thanks for the update, glad you got your money.

Now that we know this stupid drop-down list exists on the bankers computer screen, whenever we are dealing with an account that has POD or POA, we should explicitly ask does it contain both after we make a change to add the other.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:47 PM   #69
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I'm glad this worked out. Reading the explanation clears up a lot.

I'm certainly not a computer whiz but it seems like if there is a drop down box that changes something, there should be something that flags the software to ask "Do you want to REPLACE the previous selection or do you want to ADD this option without replacing."

Makes me wonder how often this has happened at your bank, or if you were the first! Now that they know the issue, I hope they can correct it for the next customer.

I'm glad you found someone who could see what happened, fix it and make you feel confident in your bank, again.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:37 AM   #70
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Wow! What a story!

That POA designation would have any affect on beneficiary designations just blows the mind!

I guess all such things should be double checked whenever account status is changed. And keep the original paperwork!
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:04 AM   #71
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FWIW, as amazing as it may sound -- I really wonder if the banker last week even knew what it meant for a bank account to be payable on death. I wonder if that banker may have thought that I was using "payable on death" to simply mean that the account was one I was inheriting. But, I don't really know.
I'm really glad you got this resolved and happy to hear that there was at least one person in the bank who took customer service seriously and made it his job to resolve the issue.

Bank branches aren't what they used to be; when DH died he had about $200 in a checking account at the local B of A branch. This is in a suburb with mixed demographics- not a lot of "wealth management". I was pleasantly surprised when the bank initiated the first contact- they must be tapped into the SS Death database- but after that the branch people really couldn't tell me much except what forms to fill out, which they then forwarded somewhere else and waited for the next response. Apparently most of the expertise is centralized. The times we needed a notary, there was only one in the office. If she was on vacation, too bad.

The branch later closed and is now occupied by the water company- the long-term residents tell me that building had been the location of one brand of bank or another for over 50 years.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:52 AM   #72
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Working with bank employees these days is basically the luck of the draw. With all of the bank branches and the low starting wages, your chances of getting someone that doesn't know much is pretty high. Earlier this year, I was dealing with my Dad's estate. The bankers in his particular branch couldn't answer even the simplest questions, such as if the early withdrawal penalty on his CD's would be waived due to his death. No idea. Wouldn't even make a phone call to find out. I ended up going to a different branch (also in a more affluent area) and they were much more helpful.
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:07 AM   #73
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This kind of confusion is common in banks. Minimum wage and typically part-time employees. One more story why I like trusts better than PODs.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:15 PM   #74
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I think part of the problem is that the bank is not suppose tell you much of anything about a third party's account if you are not authorized either by the bank in advance or via some type of probate mechanism.

I like it when bank accounts list all joint owners and PODS on the monthly statement. That way you can verify if there is a problem while everyone is still living.

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Old 06-13-2018, 04:41 PM   #75
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I think part of the problem is that the bank is not suppose tell you much of anything about a third party's account if you are not authorized either by the bank in advance or via some type of probate mechanism.

I like it when bank accounts list all joint owners and PODS on the monthly statement. That way you can verify if there is a problem while everyone is still living.

-gauss
Yes.
I have one bank, that not only does not list the POD , but on the web site, I cannot even check to see who the POD is. They are NOT my favorite bank.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:11 PM   #76
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Yes.
I have one bank, that not only does not list the POD , but on the web site, I cannot even check to see who the POD is. They are NOT my favorite bank.
I have one bank that doesn't even show the joint owners on the statements.

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Old 06-15-2018, 09:32 AM   #77
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Working with bank employees these days is basically the luck of the draw. With all of the bank branches and the low starting wages, your chances of getting someone that doesn't know much is pretty high. Earlier this year, I was dealing with my Dad's estate. The bankers in his particular branch couldn't answer even the simplest questions, such as if the early withdrawal penalty on his CD's would be waived due to his death. No idea. Wouldn't even make a phone call to find out. I ended up going to a different branch (also in a more affluent area) and they were much more helpful.

As a former banker, I can say that when I was working, a big part of the problem was all the teeny little details and having to remember them. Looking things up wasn't as easy as one would have imagined and neither was calling the helpline. Even as a teller, those who went through the same training class I did had different understanding of various rules and policies. It was awful.

I am the kind of person who hates to give incorrect information and will search and search until I find a correct answer. Most of my fellow employees were "more relaxed", to say it nicely. I'm sure things have only gotten worse in the last 20 years. I know that tellers, for instance, are now expected to do much more than deposits. There was a reason we had (back in the day) a New Accounts person, an IRA person, a Savings Bond person, etc, etc, etc. Now, tellers are one-stop shopping. Combine that with the lack of work ethic I see in so many places and the many rules that a person might only see once or twice in a career, and yeah, it's easy to see how incorrect information is doled out.

I can handle receiving incorrect info, annoying as it is, but the lack of concern on the part of employees is what gets me. No one seems to care anymore when a mistake has been made and that really ticks me off.



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I think part of the problem is that the bank is not suppose tell you much of anything about a third party's account if you are not authorized either by the bank in advance or via some type of probate mechanism.

I like it when bank accounts list all joint owners and PODS on the monthly statement. That way you can verify if there is a problem while everyone is still living.

-gauss

I really wish banks would make it easier for the customer to see this info. I had to ask if our accounts were POD and they looked at a screen and said "yes". The screen was unavailable for me to view, so I guess I'm supposed to take their word for it. These accounts were set up over 25 years ago and I'm not even sure I knew was POD was back then!

It's on my "to do" list to review everything this year and get copes of things, if I can. I may have to make an appointment to get this done but it's important. What's the use of all of this online stuff if one can't access beneficiaries and such online? Why do I still have to ask at a local branch?

And don't get me started on Vanguard and their single beneficiary stuff. That really sicks me off. I don't want to have to set up something different just to ensure my kids get a 50/50 split if something happens to both me & Dh at the same time.

Sorry... this topic gets me going.
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