Q: I HAVE A TRUST ALSO HAVE BANK ACCTS AND HOUSE JOINTLY SHARED DOES JOINT OWNER GET THOSE WITHOUT GOING THRU TRUST
First, congratulations that you have taken the time and made the investment to create a trust! The vast majority of Americans do not have any estate planning documents in place.
Assets that are jointly held, like your bank account and real estate, do NOT need to "go through" the trust if you die before the joint owner. I cannot determine from your question if you have a joint trust and the co-owner of your assets is the co-trustee? If that is the case, make sure that your assets are "funded into the trust." The trust will specify who receives those assets after the second death.
Please also review your beneficiary designation for assets solely held in your name, like IRAs and 401K plans. You may have a beneficiary listed and the trust can be named as a contingent beneficiary, just in case your primary beneficiary is deceased.
Finally, a trust represents a snapshot in time. Periodically review your documents with your attorney to make sure it still represents your estate planning goals. Many attorneys may charge for this type of review, but the small investment is well worth it.
Maybe, and this response is a generalized one, of course. Everything depends on your unique set of facts. Assets held in joint ownership generally pass directly to the surviving joint owner(s) upon the death of one joint owner, regardless of the provisions of a trust. Here's a brief breakdown:
Joint Bank Accounts: If you have a bank account held as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship" (or a similar designation), the remaining balance typically goes directly to the surviving joint account holder upon your death, outside of the trust.
Jointly Owned Real Estate: Similarly, if a house is owned as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship" or as "tenants by the entirety" (a form of joint ownership available to married couples in many states), the property would pass directly to the surviving joint owner upon the death of the other, regardless of trust provisions.
Exceptions: Always review the specific titling of the account or property. In rare instances, joint assets might not have a survivorship feature, which could alter how they are distributed upon death.
Trust Provisions: Assets that are not titled in the name of the trust or that don't pour into the trust upon death (via a pour-over will or other mechanism) will generally not be governed by the trust's terms.
Remember, while jointly held assets might bypass the trust, they may not avoid other implications, such as potential estate taxes or creditor claims. Consult with an estate planning attorney for specific advice tailored to your situation.
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