The short answer is usually no.
If you own an account in your own name, and don’t designate a payable-on-death beneficiary then the account will probably have to go through probate before the money can be transferred to the people who inherit it. If, however, the total value of your probate assets is small enough to qualify as a small estate under your state’s law, then the people who inherit from you will have simpler, less expensive options. Depending on your state’s law, they may be able to use a simplified probate procedure or simply prepare an affidavit (sworn statement) stating that they are entitled to the money, and present that to the bank. Not all states offer both options.
Accounts With a Payable-on-Death Beneficiary
Probably the simplest way to leave a bank account to someone is to name that person (or more than one) as the “payable-on-death” or POD beneficiary. You can do it by filling out and submitting a …