Jamestown, RI asked in Probate for Maryland

Q: All my assets are in 2 brokerage accounts with my children as beneficiaries. Will my executors have to file Probate?

One of my sons also has Power of Attorney on the 2 accounts.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Paul E. Draper
Paul E. Draper
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: If these brokerage accounts are titled as "TOD" or transfer on death accounts in which your children are the designated as beneficiaries then these accounts will not be part of your probate estate. These accounts will automatically transfer to your children after your death once they provide the brokerage firm managing these accounts with a certified copy of your death certificate. Your one son who is listed as power of attorney on those accounts only has power to act on your behalf while you are alive, those powers do not continue after your death. However, the brokerage firm who is managing these accounts will not terminate you son's authority as power of attorney until they have receive documentation of your death such as a death certificate. Even if you believe that all of your assets will transfer outside of probate upon your death, you still should have an estate planning attorney review your estate plan and assets to ensure that it transfers on your death as you anticipate.

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