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Legal Rights: POA vs. POD

My aunt had me as the power of attorney in 2006, but someone else's name is on her bank account as P O D. No legal papers have been found except the signed paper that I have. Would the bank have any information, as my aunt just passed last night. She was 95 years old, and I am not sure if someone just had their name added as P O D. Should I go to the bank or call a lawyer, or just let the name stay on the account. What is P O D?


"POD" is an abbreviation for "Payable on Death." Designating an account a payable on death to a named individual (the beneficiary) is a way to ensure that the beneficiary will receive ownership of the account on the account owner's death, but will not have an interest in or any access to the account during the owner's lifetime. Another way to view it is the making of a gift at the moment of death. POD designation are totally revocable during an account owner's lifetime.

A bank should not accept a POD designation from anyone other than its account owner, so it appears that your aunt wanted her designated beneficiary to receive the account. Your authority under the power of attorney ended with your aunt's death, so the bank is not required to provide you with any information. If there are concerns about whether the POD designation was properly made (claims that the beneficiary is not legally entitled to the account, in other words), those claims are now the concern of your aunt's estate, and would have to be pursued by the legally-appointed executor or administrator, if any.

Published on 8/07/08