If you are looking for optimal ways to pass on small estates in a simple way, there are various tools available to you that can be discussed directly with your estate planning attorney.
Many married couples today share a bank account from which either one of them can add or withdraw funds or write checks without consent of the other person. Transfer on death accounts can be used to allow spouses to pass on simple and small estates in a convenient way.
Transfer on death accounts are provided for under various state laws based on a contract with the account owner. In the event that the funds inside a transfer on death account are subject to community property laws, however, you may need to also consult with an estate planning lawyer.
The beneficiaries of a transfer on death account can include numerous people outside the spouse, such as friends, relatives, and children, although state law will always give priority to surviving spouse.
The spouse of a decedent can legally claim a spousal share of the assets inside a transfer on death account, which is typically half. To learn more about the process of using transfer on death accounts and whether or not this is sufficient to cover the full range of your estate planning needs, you need to schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer.
Many people benefit from additional estate planning strategies and tools and discover that a transfer on death account in and of itself might not be enough to accomplish all your goals.