Transferring Checking, Savings, and Other Bank Accounts to Your Trust

Transferring your financial and bank accounts into a Trust is a strategic step in estate planning. It ensures that these accounts are distributed according to the terms set within your Trust. Here's a breakdown of the process and some key considerations.

What is the benefit of transferring a financial account to my Trust vs naming a beneficiary through my bank?

The primary advantage of transferring your accounts into a Trust rather than simply adding a beneficiary via your bank is to ensure that they are distributed in alignment with the Trust's terms. This setup allows you to specify conditions for the beneficiaries listed in the Trust. Additionally, it provides a mechanism to include backup beneficiaries if the primary beneficiary cannot inherit the assets. 

What if I want a financial account to go to someone not listed in my Trust?

If you wish for an account to benefit someone who is not a part of your Trust, you can directly list them as a beneficiary on the account through your bank. This method supercedes the Trust, and the account will be distributed to the named beneficiary outside the Trust's terms. To do this, contact your bank or financial institution to get the necessary forms.

How to Transfer Financial Accounts to Your Trust

1. Contact Your Bank

Begin by contacting your bank to understand their specific requirements for transferring accounts into a Trust. Each institution has its own set of documents and forms that you'll need to complete for the transfer.

2. Complete and Return the Required Forms

Fill out the bank-provided forms with the necessary information about your Trust. Depending on the bank's policy, you might need to complete a “Certificate of Trust” form or provide a full copy of the Trust document.

3. Update the Account Title

Ask the bank to retitle the account in the name of the Trustee of the Trust. This step formally transfers the account's ownership to the Trust. Note that while most banks will not change the account numbers, some might issue new ones following the transfer.

 

Learn more in this short video about transferring bank accounts and other financial accounts into your Trust:

More Resources

View, download, or print our comprehensive guide to funding your Trust: Trust Funding Guide

Learn more about transferring various asset types to your Trust: Funding Your Trust: How to Transfer Assets to a Trust

 

This information is intended as a reference only. It is not legal advice nor intended to cover every possible situation. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions. Some details for funding your Trust may change over time. For example, if the Trustee changes, that would likely affect how you would title assets held in the Trust.

 

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