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Infolawyer
Infolawyer, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
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Experience:  Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
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A family trust agreements list of assets specifically states

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A family trust agreement's list of assets specifically states (by bank name) the deposits are to be distributed equally to all beneficiaries. However, the decedent's bank accounts were never transferred into the trust name.

The joint bank accounts were held in the name of the deceased person and trustee.
In addition, the trustee had authority to write checks while the deceased was living.

Weeks after the date of death; the trustee removed the deceased's name from the bank accounts.

Does the trustee get to keep the (bank account) money because the account's were never transferred into the name of the family trust?

Or, does the (bank account) money belong to all beneficiaries?

Thank you for your reply.

Daniel : Hello and thank you for the question. I am sorry to read of this dilemma.
Daniel : if the accounts were in joint names and not transferred into the trust they would pass to the joint account holder. To have them pass under the trust the beneficiaries would have to apply to the court for a determination that the intent was to transfer them and the trustee acted in bad faith for personal benefit.
Customer:

Even though the trust agreement specifically identifies the bank accounts by name are to be distributed equally?

Daniel :

The court should honor that intention and transfer the funds into the trust

Daniel :

the fact it was not done if often a formality

Daniel :

but given the procedural stage, it would need a court order, where the trustee is not being cooperative

Daniel :

and seeking to take advantage for a technical formality

Daniel :

often the assets are moved into trust after the fact

Daniel :

I wish you the best.

Customer:

But the trustee has the decision to choose what he wants do: either keep the money, or distribute equally. Would that be a correct conclusion?

Daniel :

He should be complying with the trust

Daniel :

and not taking assets for his personal benefit

Daniel :

where the trust has not been revoked or otherwise changed

Daniel :

he should marshaling the assets into the trust and dividing among the beneficiaries

Customer:

I understand now. -- Your input is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Daniel :

very welcome

Daniel :

have a nice weekend

Daniel :

Kindly click on an excellent rating for the answer

Customer:

You too!

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