In October 2008, Congress increased the basic limit on federal deposit insurance coverage from $100,000 to $250,000. The limit is scheduled to return to $100,000 on January 1, 2014.
The temporary limit now in effect has not changed the fact that a customer has various means by which to effectively raise the applicable limit for the customer’s collection of deposits at any one institution. The basic limit applies separately to different ownership categories. A single account in one name is insured up to $250,000; a joint account for two or more people is insured up to the same limit, per owner; certain retirement accounts, such as IRAs, are covered up to the limit; and deposits meant to pass on to named beneficiaries on the death of the owner can be protected up to $250,000 for each named beneficiary. This last category of deposits is a revocable trust account.
There also are other recent changes that favor depositors in insured institutions. For example, it used to be that the only beneficiaries under a revocable trust account who qualified for additional deposit insurance coverage were the account owner’s spouse, child, grandchild, parent, or sibling. Now an account owner can name almost any beneficiary, such as a more distant relative, a friend, or a charitable organization, and each beneficiary will still benefit from the additional coverage.