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Totten Trusts

One of the reasons why some people hesitate to put assets into trusts, is their fear of losing complete control over those assets. While that fear is justified for certain types of trusts, there are other types of trusts where control over the assets is not an issue.

For example, one of the simplest types of trusts is known as a Totten trust.

These trusts allow settlors to place money in a bank account. They have complete control over the funds in the bank account. Anything that is left in the account when the settlor passes away, goes to a named beneficiary without having to first clear probate.

The trust can be revoked by the settlor at any time, making it easy to change beneficiaries. These trusts were discussed by the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blogin “Breaking Down the Totten Trust.”

Totten trusts are cheap and easy to setup where they are allowed. People just need to go to the bank and fill out some forms. They are very similar to payable-on-death accounts that most banks also make available, so it is not essential to use the form of a trust to get the same benefits.

Totten trusts and payable-on-death bank accounts are only available for cash.

For other types of assets you might want to put in a trust and still retain control, talk to an elder law attorney to go over your options.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog(Jan. 22, 2018) “Breaking Down the Totten Trust.”

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