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  1. #1
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    Aug 2018
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    Default Banks Accounts and Living Trust

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: South Carolina

    I just want to check my understanding of the ways in which a personal bank account (e.g., a checking account) can be included in an estate plan. I think my options are these: (1) Convert the bank account to a POD and name an individual as beneficiary. (2) Convert the account to a POD and name a living trust as beneficiary. This would allow me to change beneficiaries w/o having to file new documents with the bank. However, I would still need to have changes to the trust document notarized. (3) Retitle a personal banking account, transferring ownership to the trust. That would require that I sign my checks as Trustee. No particular benefit. Is there a fourth option? Could I simply assign a bank account to a beneficiary within a trust just as I would "schedule" a stamp collection? That would avoid paperwork. My guess is that can not be done because there is documentation to the ownership of a bank account just as there are titles to a home or car? Do I have this right?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Banks Accounts and Living Trust

    You have #1 right.

    Another advantage of using a trust (either #2 or #3) is not only does it mean you can change things by amending the trust, you can also set the trust up to have various contingencies at the get go. For example, I can leave the mone to my spouse if she is living or to my two nieces if she isn't.

    Yes, you will have to notarize changes to the trust if you actually have to change things.

    With #3, you don't have to sign as the trustee. You can have the item titled to the trust and still be an authorized signer on the account.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18,259

    Default Re: Banks Accounts and Living Trust

    Quote Quoting DocPit45
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    (1) Convert the bank account to a POD and name an individual as beneficiary.
    That's by far the easiest way to do it. You can often change beneficiaries online or just drop in to your local branch with the form.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Banks Accounts and Living Trust

    Quote Quoting DocPit45
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    Is there a fourth option?
    Without giving it any real thought, I'm sure there are many other options, including doing nothing, in which case the account would become part of your probate estate.


    Quote Quoting DocPit45
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    Could I simply assign a bank account to a beneficiary within a trust just as I would "schedule" a stamp collection?
    I'm not really sure what you mean by this or how it might be different than the second or third options you mentioned.


    Quote Quoting DocPit45
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    My guess is that can not be done because there is documentation to the ownership of a bank account just as there are titles to a home or car? Do I have this right?
    Huh?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    7

    Default Re: Banks Accounts and Living Trust

    Clarification: Options 1 & 2 require that I submit documentation to convert the account to a POD. Option 3 requires that I submit documentation that transfers ownership of the account to the trust, i.e., I retitle the account just as I would retitle a house or car that would be placed in a trust. Option 4 (if it is an option), would be to create a trust and to state, within the trust, that bank account #4444444 is given to Person A, w/o filing any POD or title change that pertains to the bank account itself.

    Thanks very much for the assistance. Much appreciated.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Banks Accounts and Living Trust

    Quote Quoting DocPit45
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    Option 4 (if it is an option), would be to create a trust and to state, within the trust, that bank account #4444444 is given to Person A, w/o filing any POD or title change that pertains to the bank account itself.
    Let's say John Smith owns a bank account. John then creates a trust. In the trust instrument, he says "that bank account #4444444 is given to Person A" but fails to transfer the account to himself, as trustee of the trust. In such a case, the bank is likely to require a court order before giving either the executor of John's estate or the successor trustee of the trust access to the account. Getting such an order wouldn't be difficult for either, but a problem could arise if John's will and the trust are conflicting.

  7. #7
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    Aug 2018
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    7

    Default Re: Banks Accounts and Living Trust

    Thank you for that insight.

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