You have created your living trust and are getting your estate plans in order.  The next step is making sure your living trust is properly funded with all of your assets. When you put a bank account into a trust, doing so will avoid having to administer the bank account in a probate proceeding. It will also allow your successor trustee to access the account should you become incapacitated.

In order to avoid probating an estate, you should consider placing the following items into a revocable living trust:

  • Real property
  • Bank accounts
  • Security accounts such as stocks, bonds and CDs
  • Business interests (of a limited amount)
  • Patents and copyrights
  • Antiques and valuable furniture/jewelry

When you put assets such as a bank account into a trust and otherwise fund a living trust, you are transferring title to assets in which you hold title personally to title in the trust.

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If you have a living trust, it is important to fund a living trust prior to death. This will help your estate avoid probate. A revocable living trust allows you to put assets into your trust at any time during your lifetime. As the trustee of your trust, you have total control of your trust assets and can even sell and give away your trust property. Contact A People’s Choice for more information about the benefits of creating a trust. Read on to learn more about putting a bank account in a living trust.

How to Put a Bank Account into a Trust

Up to $166,250 of real or personal property can be held outside a trust and avoid full probate in California. Bank checking and saving accounts of little value do not necessarily need to be transferred to a living trust. If you have more than $166,250 (or close to it) in a bank account, you probably should consider transferring it into your trust.

It is fairly easy and a straightforward process to put a bank account into a trust. Most financial institutions handle the paperwork for their clients. First, to put a bank account into a trust you will need provide your financial institution with a certified abstract of your trust. The certified abstract is a condensed version of your living trust.  It is usually entitled “Certificate of Trust” and has basic information about your trust but omits the personal details of how your estate will be distributed. A People’s Choice includes a Certificate of Trust in all of our living trust packages. The bank may copy the Certificate of Trust and enter the name of the successor trustee and trust beneficiary into their system. You will have to sign documents confirming that you want to put a bank account into a trust. Keep in mind that if your bank account is near $250,000, you should check the bank’s insurance coverage. You may not want to exceed $250,000 in the account unless you are comfortable with your bank’s insurance requirements.

You do not need an attorney create a living trust nor to put a bank account into a trust. In fact, once your living trust has been properly set up, only you, the trustee can put your bank account into your trust. Under most circumstances, you only need a certified abstract of your trust and make a trip to the bank to transfer the bank account title to the trust. When you take your Certificate of Trust to the bank, they will give you any other paperwork they need to put the bank account into your trust.

As an alternative to putting a bank account into a trust, however, you can use a pay-on-death instrument. This allows the bank account to be distributed directly to your beneficiary upon your death instead of having to go through probate. Keep in mind, however, that this option is not practical if the beneficiary is a minor. Contact us for more information. A People’s Choice offers a variety of estate planning solutions, from a simple will to very economical trust packages.  Call today at 800-747-2780 for more information about our inexpensive estate planning services.

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