In 1904, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that individuals could name a beneficiary to an upon-death bank account. The case was referred to as Matter of Totten, which is where this trust got its name. While a totten trust does not meet the formal requirements to be considered a traditional trust, the courts ruled that because these types of bank accounts usually held smaller amounts of money, the practice could continue.

How to Open a Totten Trust

If you are in the process of planning your estate, you may be wondering what will happen to your bank accounts once you die. In most situations, bank accounts are jointly held between two people within marriage. When one person dies, the surviving spouse will become the sole owner of the account, and the account will not need to go through the probate process. However, if you are the sole owner of a bank account, then you will need to take other steps to ensure that your bank account is transferred to the individual you prefer.

A totten trust is basically a “payable-on-death” account, where a named beneficiary will take sole ownership of the account upon your death. In order for the beneficiary to receive the funds in the account, this individual will need to present a certified copy of your death certificate, along with valid identification to prove that he or she is the beneficiary.

To name a beneficiary to a totten account, you will need to go to your bank and ask for the appropriate forms, fill them out, and then turn them in at your bank. Be sure that your bank receives these completed forms, as it is not enough to simply fill them out and keep them with your important documents. The bank will need to have this information prior to your death.

It is important to know that you can revoke or change the trust at any time during your life. This means that you can withdraw the trust or change the beneficiary if you need to. If you do not name a beneficiary to your bank accounts, the accounts will go through probate upon your death and the court will decide who will receive your money. If you do name a beneficiary, this person will only have access to your account after your death. The named beneficiary will not have access to your account while you are alive, not even to inquire about the funds in the account.

Upon your death, the beneficiary will be contacted and will typically receive the funds within a short period; the account will not have to go through the probate process.

Contact an Estate Attorney

If you are interested in beginning the estate planning process, contact the estate attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group. The attorneys at Clear Counsel understand the importance of financial planning and securing your family’s financial well-being. Call today to set up a consultation.

Clear Counsel Law group

Contact Info

1671 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Suite 200,
Henderson, NV 89012

+1 702 522 0696

Daily: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: By Appointment Only

Copyright 2019 Clear Counsel Law Group® | Nav Map

Nothing on this site is legal advice.