This is an excerpt from Chapter 4 of Certified Financial Planner™ Scott O’Brien’s brand new e-book Surviving to Thriving: A Financial Resource for Divorcées and Widows. This e-book brings you in depth information from 7 experts across industries to help women manage the financial and personal elements of life’s major transitions. Download your complimentary copy today.
By Tricia Teegardin Edwards
Managing Partner, Teegardin & Associates CPAs
You will want to make a list of all your accounts and balances – assets and debts. Begin with the bank accounts and determine whether they were joint accounts, separate accounts or payable on death (POD) accounts. For joint accounts, you will continue to have access to all the funds because your name is on the account. POD accounts work in this exact same fashion as long as you were named as the beneficiary. You will need to show the bank the death certificate and the account will be transferred to you.
Accounts where your spouse was listed as the only account holder will not be accessible to you once you inform the bank that your spouse has passed. To gain access to separate accounts, you will need to go through the probate process, where the court determines how the assets are administered. The probate process can take months, and during this time you will not readily have access to the funds in affected accounts. This will apply to bank and investment accounts that contain liquid assets.
Check to see what accounts have auto debits or ACH payments coming out of them and make the necessary changes. If payments are missed or bank accounts are overdrawn, call the credit card company or bank. Most times, they will be very happy to help you and will often waive the overdraft and late fees. This is a very stressful time for you and most people will want to help.
Surviving to Thriving: A Financial Resource for Divorcées and Widows brings you practical advice from 7 experts across specialities to help women manage the financial and personal elements of life’s major transitions. Get your complimentary copy today.
Tricia began her career at Ernst & Young. As a Tax Manager, she provided financial planning and tax services to wealthy individuals and families. She moved to Austin in 1998 and spent more than 8 years as the personal business manager for the Dell family. As the sole manager, she led the finance and tax matters of the organization and helped to create their family office from scratch. She also served as the first executive director for the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, managing all aspects of the foundation from 1999 – 2001. In addition to overseeing most of the back office functions, Tricia was part of the executive hiring team, and she was instrumental in launching other start-up businesses for the family.
Tricia left her position at Dell in 2006 to start her own practice, which has evolved into Teegardin & Associates Ltd LLP. She holds a bachelor degree in accounting from Indiana University. In addition to her CPA designation, Tricia is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. With over 25 years of experience as a CPA, Tricia serves as the Managing Partner and oversees all aspects of the firm’s tax and family office services. Tricia works primarily with high net worth individual clients on their tax and family office needs.
Tricia is an avid tennis player and she enjoys spending time with her family and her white lab, Luke.
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