Q. My wife and I have been married for 20 years. It’s a second marriage for both of us and we have children from our previous marriages. I want to leave everything to my wife if I predecease her and she wants to do the same if she passes before me. We have always kept all of our accounts separate from each other. My children tell me that the best way to do it is to put all of my accounts in transfer on death mode to them (I have two) and then have my Will just leave everything to my wife and that way, if I pass first, my wife will get everything because my Will says so. Your thoughts please.
A. Hmmmm. Well, either your children don’t understand the consequences of having accounts in transfer on death mode, OR they are being rather sneaky. If you have accounts in transfer on death mode, then when you pass on the funds in that account will belong to the transfer on death beneficiary REGARDLESS of what your Will provides. So, if you don’t want to put those accounts in both of your names, then you should make your Wife the transfer on death beneficiary. That will assure that she gets those accounts. It just seems to me though, that since you want her to have what’s in those accounts why don’t you just add her name to them now?