When was the last time your bank accounts were reviewed? If you’ve never had a bank account(s) reviewed, you could be paying unnecessary fees or not taking advantage of benefits that may be available to you. Account reviews can also ensure the titling, signers and/or beneficiaries on your accounts are up to date.
Having an account review with your banker can help determine if you’re in the right type of account based on the balances in the account, as well as overall relationship at that bank. For example, does the account you’re in have a minimum balance requirement? If so, are you maintaining that amount or are you paying fees for dropping below it? If you maintain higher balances, are you taking advantage of benefits, such as free checks, a free safe deposit box, free cashiers’ checks, free stop payments, etc.? Banks periodically change the types of accounts and associated benefits they offer, so perhaps there could be a more advantageous account for you. If you are being assessed fees, now would be a good time to schedule an appointment with your banker to explore other options.
An account review can also help determine if you have the correct authorized signers and/or beneficiaries on your account. The titling on your bank account is very important for several reasons:
- If you are the sole owner of an account with no beneficiary(ies) listed, the account may be in jeopardy of going through probate should you pass away.
- If you have an account that is established as “joint with rights of survivorship,” the person on the account with you has legal rights to withdraw funds from your account. Should you pass away, the balance of the account would be owned by the survivor.
- If there is a joint signer on the account and the signer has outstanding debts, the account could be in jeopardy of having a lien or garnishment placed on it.
- If you have established a Revocable Trust, have you titled your bank accounts in the name of the Trust? It is very easy to do and will not change the account number on your bank account. Not doing so is a common oversight by many.
- If you have business accounts, are all signers still employed with you and/or in good standing with your company? Do they have online access to your accounts and have the correct levels of authority to perform their current job responsibilities?
Account reviews are a prudent way to ensure optimal account structure and up-to-date titling, which may reduce or eliminate fees and prevent potential confusion and discord among co-owners and heirs.
Lastly, as you age, you may want to consider consolidating bank accounts and banks for efficiency reasons. It is much simpler to manage bank accounts at one financial institution versus several, especially as needs arise. Should you experience fraud on your account, become ill or experience the death of an account holder, it is extremely beneficial to have a banker you know and trust who can quickly spring into action to assist you.