Acronyms abound in estate planning, just as they do in many other areas of law.
Here are a couple: POD and TOD. They mean payable on death and transfer on death, respectively.
And what is the exact relevance of those shorthand designations, some readers might ask, and what is their specific application to the realm of estate administration?
Consider for just a moment the broad-based manner in which many estate plans are established. Although some planners might have just a will, many others necessarily go far beyond that to ensure that all planning considerations are accounted for and carefully integrated in a tailor-made way that optimally promotes all objectives.
Put another way: A given plan might have a will, several trusts, multiple powers of attorney that grant specified powers to trusted individuals, insurance policies, myriad savings vehicles and more.
Now back to those POD and TOD designations. As a recent article on planning notes, those death-related payments “are usually non-probate transfers.” That is, the parties named as beneficiaries in such forms will receive money regardless of what a will might otherwise provide for.
The point, as further noted in that article, is this: A party needs to take care that every aspect of a plan, including provisions set forth in savings and brokerage accounts, is well integrated and makes sense. The article advises estate planners with myriad investment vehicles managed through various governing documents to engage in “a discussion about how these forms impact your other estate planning intentions with the attorney that prepared your will, powers of attorney or trust documents.”
An estate plan can be maximally effective in its promotion of all objectives and seamlessly crafted to do what its creators intend it to do.
Indeed, that should always be the case, and it an eminently reasonable goal to achieve with timely and close assistance from a proven estate administration attorney.