How to create a financial survival plan

Add transfer-on-death designations

You can ensure the seamless transfer of many assets from one partner to the other by placing transfer-on-death designations on your assets.

Applying a transfer-on-death designation is usually as simple as filling out paperwork and submitting it to the institution that holds your asset. You can use transfer-on-death designations with bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, real estate, vehicles and more.

Your partner will gain complete control of these assets immediately after your death instead of waiting months for the courts to settle your estate through probate.

While you're at it, add secondary beneficiaries like parents or siblings in case you and your partner die simultaneously.

Transfer-on-death designees have no rights to the asset while you’re alive, however, so you’ll usually want your partner listed as a joint owner of your assets. A transfer-on-death designation won’t give your partner access to an old savings account that could be used to pay your medical bills if you became mentally incapacitated.