The Risk of Adding Your Children to Bank Accounts

I want to leave my bank accounts for my children when I’m gone. Can’t I just make the children joint owners?

That idea sounds better than it actually is. In Louisiana, this will not allow you to avoid court proceedings when you pass. Moreover, you’d put yourself at risk, at a time when you might need your money yourself. Your accounts would be exposed to your children’s divorcing spouses, bankruptcy, liability for legal actions, or, last and doubtless most uncomfortable to think about, your children could simply spend your money without your permission. The best way to resist temptation is to avoid the opportunity in the first place.


Payable on Death (POD) Accounts

Although Payable on Death accounts are allowed in Louisiana, there are many restrictions. Even if set up properly, attempting to utilize one of these accounts as part of your estate plan without the guidance of an estate planning attorney or elder law attorney can cause more trouble and cost than it is worth. This is because although the POD account is allowed (which merely tells the bank to pay your designated person upon your death), the fact of a POD account does not alter general substantive inheritance laws. For example, if you list a spouse as your POD beneficiary of money that your kids would otherwise inheritance, this account is not going to alter their rights. You could be setting up an avoidable fight and expensive litigation between your spouse and kids.

Plan for the Future of Your Finances

While you are alive, it is essential to designate a person you trust to pay your bills when you can’t. With our comprehensive enhanced power of attorney document, your trusted person can take care of your finances when you aren’t able. Avoid downloadable internet versions. Come see us instead. You don’t want banks and insurance companies to reject your document as insufficient when you most need it!


Power of Attorney

If your power of attorney is powerful and detailed enough, you can be confident that your trusted person will take care of your finances if you become disabled.

For help with your planning needs, please give us a call. We’d be honored to help make sure your plan is what you want and that it is properly documented. Please contact our office by calling us at (318) 255-1760 and schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help.