From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: “I buy lots of CDs. I shop around and find the best deal. Recently I purchased a CD at TD Bank. But I don’t tell my children where I buy CDs. That is my business. How Do My Children Find TD Bank Account After I am Dead?”
Peter Klenk, Estate Planning Lawyer.
How Do My Children Find TD Bank Account After I am Dead?
Until recently, everyone received a monthly bank statement in the mail. If you died, it was easy for your family and the Probate Attorney to locate your accounts. They simply waited by the mail slot, and the statements arrived telling them where your money’s location.
Now, most people receive electronic statements. Electronic statements are highly efficient, but it means only someone with your email password can locate your financial statements. If you don’t share your password with your children or Estate Planning Lawyer, they will likely not have access to your email.
Log onto the state’s Unclaimed Property website. For example, here is the link to the Pennsylvania Unclaimed Property website. You will find tens of thousands of accounts, most of which are accounts the children of deceased parents failed to locate. Don’t let your account become one of them.
You may have asked How Do My Children Find TD Bank Account After I am Dead, but the real question is, “How do my children even find out in which banks I have accounts?”
Is Sharing Passwords the Answer?
If you are the 1 out of 100 people who feel comfortable sharing passwords with children AND manage to keep that shared password updated, good for you. While sharing data is ok for some, for the rest of us, successfully sharing all passwords with heirs is impossible. I regularly change my passwords. Furthermore, most financial institutions make you update passwords regularly. Keeping track of them yourself is hard!
If you choose the sharing password route, try using one of the several excellent password apps. These apps allow you to list all your passwords saved under one master password. This way, you can have hundreds of easily discoverable different passwords. Then, share this one password with your children. Or, if it is on your phone, make sure they can open your phone. Your massive password data bank is useless if it is on your phone, and your children can’t unlock the phone!
My plan includes giving my son’s facial access to my iPhone. On my iPhone, I have an app that currently houses 389 passwords. At my death, he can access my phone and obtain those passwords using his face to unlock the phone.
Do Your Children Even Need Your Password? (Hint…no)
The short answer is that your children don’t even need most of your passwords. Let me explain. Your Executor, after your death, files your will with the county. In New Jersey, this is the Surrogate, and in Pennsylvania, this person is called the Register of Wills.
Once recognized, the Executor has the power to access all of your data. Therefore, if they know you have a (or several) TD Bank Accounts or CDs, they simply have to go to a branch. The TD Bank manager reviews the paperwork and then gives the Executor all information under your social security number. The Executor doesn’t need your password. All the Executor needs are the knowledge of which banks you use.
But in which banks do you have accounts? How will your Executor know? Remember, I said above your question, “How Do My Children Find TD Bank Account After I am Dead” can be better phrased, “How do my children even find out in which banks I have accounts?”
How the Executor Locates Your Bank Accounts.
If your bank statements come via email, and your children can’t access your email, then your accounts can be lost. For our clients, we have solved this puzzle. Each of our clients has a Summary of their estate planning documents. Part of this Summary is a list of “where does my Executor go when I am dead to secure my assets.” This list doesn’t need account numbers or account balances. All your heirs need is the name of the institution. If you have one account or a hundred accounts at TD Bank, your Executor only needs to know about TD Bank. The Executor goes to a branch, presents credentials, and the bank provides the information on all accounts.
Nothing is overlooked or lost with a list of institutions. But, as you move accounts or open new accounts, there is no need to update the list. Easy!
The list also includes important people who have your essential data—for example, your accountant, life insurance agent, and financial advisor.
Further, to keep this list updated, we email a “nudge” to clients twice a year to review and update the list. The Summary is easily viewed by a link, just like your financial statements. We don’t charge to keep this list of assets updated; it’s a service we provide clients for free.
This list saves your Executor weeks or months of searching for assets. Further, it helps prevent your accounts from ending up on the lost property list!
For more detailed information about the Probate Process, see my Article, “Probate and Estate Administration: Everything You Need to Know.”
In Conclusion: How Do My Children Find TD Bank Account After I am Dead.
I hope you found helpful this short article addressing the question, How Do My Children Find TD Bank Account After I am Dead. I have also included some links for more detailed information. If you are curious about Probate, Estate Planning, or other various planning techniques, contact us. Let our Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do!
It’s What We Do!