(a) If any natural person or natural persons establishing a deposit account shall execute a written agreement with the savings bank containing a statement that it is executed pursuant to the provisions of this section and providing for the account to be held in the name of the natural person or natural persons as owner or owners for one or more beneficiaries, the account and any balance thereof shall be held as a Payable on Death account. The account shall have the following incidents:
(1) Any owner during the owner's lifetime may change any designated beneficiary by a written direction to the savings bank.
(2) If there are two or more owners of a Payable on Death account, the owners shall own the account as joint tenants with right of survivorship and, except as otherwise provided in this section, the account shall have the incidents set forth in G.S. 54C-165.
(3) Any owner may withdraw funds by writing checks or otherwise, as set forth in the account contract, and receive payment in cash or check payable to the owner's personal order.
(4) If the beneficiary or beneficiaries are natural persons, there may be one or more beneficiaries and the following shall apply:
a. If only one beneficiary is living and of legal age at the death of the last surviving owner, the beneficiary shall be the owner of the account, and payment by the savings bank to such owner shall be a total discharge of the savings bank's obligation as to the amount paid. If two or more beneficiaries are living at the death of the last surviving owner, they shall be owners of the account as joint tenants with right of survivorship as provided in G.S. 54C-165, and payment by the savings bank to the owners or any of the owners shall be a total discharge of the savings bank's obligation as to the amount paid.
b. If only one beneficiary is living and that beneficiary is not of legal age at the death of the last surviving owner, the savings bank shall transfer the funds in the account to the general guardian or guardian of the estate, if any, of the minor beneficiary. If no guardian of the minor beneficiary has been appointed, the savings bank shall hold the funds in a similar interest bearing account in the name of the minor until the minor reaches the age of majority or until a duly appointed guardian withdraws the funds.
(5) If the beneficiary is an entity other than a natural person, there shall be only one beneficiary.
(6) If one or more owners survive the last surviving beneficiary who was a natural person, or if a beneficiary who is an entity other than a natural person should cease to exist before the death of the owner, the account shall become an individual account of the owner, or a joint account with right of survivorship of the owners, and shall have the legal incidents of an individual account in a case of a single owner or a joint account with right of survivorship, as provided in G.S. 54C-165, in the case of multiple owners.
(7) Prior to the death of the last surviving owner, no beneficiary shall have any ownership interest in a Payable on Death account. Funds in a Payable on Death account established pursuant to this subsection shall belong to the beneficiary or beneficiaries upon the death of the last surviving owner, and the funds shall be subject only to the personal representative's right of collection as set forth in G.S. 28A-15-10(a)(1). Payment by the savings bank of funds in the Payable on Death account to the beneficiary or beneficiaries shall terminate the personal representative's authority under G.S. 28A-15-10(a)(1) to collect against the savings bank for the funds so paid, but the personal representative's authority to collect such funds from the beneficiary or beneficiaries is not terminated.
The natural person or natural persons establishing an account under this subsection shall sign a statement containing language set forth in a conspicuous manner and substantially similar to the language set out below; the language may be on a signature card or in an explanation of the account that is set out in a separate document whose receipt is acknowledged by the person or persons establishing the account:
"SAVINGS BANK (or name of institution)
PAYABLE ON DEATH ACCOUNT
I (or we) understand that by establishing a Payable on Death account under the provisions of North Carolina General Statute 54C-166.1 that:
1. During my (or our) lifetime I (or we), individually or jointly, may withdraw the money in the account.
2. By written direction to the savings bank (or name of institution) I (or we), individually or jointly, may change the beneficiary or beneficiaries.
3. Upon my (or our) death the money remaining in the account will belong to the beneficiary or beneficiaries, and the money will not be inherited by my (or our) heirs or be controlled by will.
(b) This section shall not be deemed exclusive. Deposit accounts not conforming to this section shall be governed by other applicable provisions of the General Statutes or the common law, as appropriate.
(c) No addition to such accounts, nor any withdrawal, payment, or change of beneficiary, shall affect the nature of such accounts as Payable on Death accounts or affect the right of any owner to terminate the account.
(d) This section does not repeal or modify any provisions of laws relating to estate taxes. (1991, c. 680, s. 1; 1998-69, s. 19; 2001-267, s. 4; 2001-487, s. 61(b); 2011-236, s. 3; 2012-168, s. 4; 2012-194, s. 63.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014