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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 22575
Experience:  14 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My elderly father is confused about the best way to title his

Customer Question

My elderly father is confused about the best way to title his bank accounts. He has a family trust and a will. Upon his death, I would be the executor of his estate. I am currently on his checking account, and his savings account is in the name of the family Trust. He, for some reason, is uncomfortable with me NOT being on the savings account NOW (in case he is incapacitated). I don't really feel like I have a need for access to his savings account. I told him I would have access upon his passing, as the executor. What are the differences/benefits/disadvantages between being listed on his savings account now while he is living and leaving it in the family trust?
Thank you
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX X will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Let me clear up a couple things before we get started....
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There is a revocable living trust with you being the trustee, correct?
,
There is a last will and testament with you being the executor, correct?
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The savings account is actually in the trust and titled to the trust, correct? (i.e. not titled to father personally)
.
.
Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

thank you.


1) I'm sorry, but I don't have the trust in front of me, but it was my understanding that he was the trustee until his death, and then I would be the trustee (with my two brothers), but that I am listed first and designated as the executor. Does that sound possible?


2) He has a will, but I'm not sure of the exact wording (again, sorry, I don't have it in front of me) as far as executor. Is it possible that it is combined with the Trust?


3) We titled the savings account to the trust earlier this year. It was previously titled to my father personally. He wants to change it back and include me on the title. The bank kind of confused us as to what should be in the trust, etc. and now he's having doubts about it.


Would it be more helpful if I had those documents in front of me? Or can we proceed with general practice guidelines for such matters? I could probably get the documents tomorrow or Wednesday.


 

Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.
Sorry for the delay, my plumber showed up about a job I called him about...
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If there is a trust, then there is a trustee. If father set it up, then he probably did so and named himself as trustee and you as successor trustee when he passes.
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A will has an executor, so if there is a will and a trust, then it is common to use a "pour over will" which is a will that directs that everything that the decedent owns that is not already in the trust gets "poured over" into the trust upon their death. Then the trustee administers the trust according to its terms for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
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But back to your question...
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If the savings account is only in the trust's name, then it still avoids probate because any assets in a trust don't have to go through probate. If he takes the savings account out of the trust and just lists he and you as joint owners, then when he passes, the account and everything in it is yours solely. No one else has any legal claim to those funds except you. It would then be up to you whether you wanted to share those funds with your siblings if you have any.
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So either way, the savings account would avoid probate. If it is in the trust, it is subject to the trust terms and the trustee would control it. If it is in your and father's name, you own it when he passes.
.
.
Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Thank you. No problem with the delay, I know how it is with plumbers.


 


How would I know if he has a "pour over will"? Would specific wording be in the trust or the will or both?


 


So it sounds like there's no real advantage or disadvantage to having the savings account in his and my name instead of under the trust. Yes? (Other than having some leverage over my brothers . . . just kidding.)


 


Thank you so much. I really appreciate your insight. Good luck with the plumber!

Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.

How would I know if he has a "pour over will"? Would specific wording be in the trust or the will or both?

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The actual will should say "pour over" on it somewhere. Either that or it will say in the will that the executor is to transfer all assets over to the trust. When I draft one, I title it "The Last Will and Testament of XXXXX XXXXX" then in parenthesis I put "Pour-Over Will".
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So it sounds like there's no real advantage or disadvantage to having the savings account in his and my name instead of under the trust. Yes? (Other than having some leverage over my brothers . . . just kidding.)

.

Pretty much. But from a purely legal perspective, if you were on the account with father, you own it....just you.... when he passes. Brothers have no legal claim over it so you could share it if you wanted to or not. If it is in the trust, then the trust directives control what happens to it.

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You are very welcome. Glad I could help.

.

And I had to take the plumber over to a new house in my neighborhood I got for my 82 yr old father so he can put new water lines in while I rehab it for him... And as you probably know, holding onto a plumber is like trying to catch a greased pig...So when they show up, you drop everything and be very nice to them...

.

.

Thanks

Barrister

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Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 22575
Experience: 14 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
Barrister and 7 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.

Thanks so much for the positive rating and generous bonus, it is very much appreciated!

.

It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. Please feel free to ask for me if you need help with anything in the future and I will do everything I can to help or get you to someone who can.

.

Barrister

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