The Listen to Lawrence Letter: Should I have a beneficiary or a co-owner on my accounts?

March 16, 2022
Dear Clients and Friends,
The death of a spouse is definitely a time to reassess your estate planning, like in the following situation:
Thank you again for your informative emails 👍🏻
Question: I have my house in an Irrevocable Trust. My husband passed away recently. I have savings, annuity & CDs, not in the trust. Is it best to have a beneficiary or co-owner on these other accounts to protect them?
First, my condolences for the loss of your husband.   Secondly, I usually tell my clients not to make any major decisions after the loss of a spouse. However, here is a general answer to your question. You first need to assess your ongoing needs. You see, the money that is outside the trust is unprotected in case you ever need Medicaid. Do you need all this money to feel comfortable or do you want to get some of it out of your name to protect it in the future? After that analysis, the balance of the money that you want to keep in your name (which can be all of it), should, just as you suggested, EITHER name a beneficiary or be joint with someone so that these smaller assets will avoid probate after your death.
I hope this helps! Please forward this information to your friends and relatives to share these informative answers to some very commonly asked questions.
And, if anyone you know would like to receive this
Listen to Lawrence Letter, just have them email me at and I’ll add them to the list!
As always, please send me your questions. If you are thinking about it, others are probably too, so my answers will no doubt help you and many others.
Let’s stay connected.
Stay safe!
Until next time,
peace, health and happiness,
Lawrence Eric Davidow