How do I add my bank account to my trust?
Adding a bank account to a trust is a fairly routine procedure. Most banks will require a Trustor to open a new bank account in the name of the trust and thereafter transfer the assets of the non-trust bank account into the new trust bank account. Banks will typically require either a copy of your trust document or a "certification of trust" before creating a trust bank account. Your estate planning lawyer can create the certification of trust for you to sign; however, many banks have, and may require, their own forms to be used.
The appropriate way to title a trust bank account is as follows:
[Name] as Trustee of the [Name of the Trust] dated [Date of Trust Execution]
Trust bank accounts generally should not have signers who are not Trustees of the Trust, and also should not have a beneficiary designation.
Many people wish to avoid letting others know of the existence of their trust. Luckily, most banks allow checks to be printed in the Trustor's individual name rather than the name of his or her trust.
Occasionally clients will have bank accounts that have many auto-deposits and auto-debits for things like paychecks and bills. In this situation, the hassle of creating a trust account and re-instating the auto-deposits and auto-debits may take too much time. Therefore, it may be acceptable to retain the bank account in the owner's name individually, with the caveat that the balance should be kept below the threshold necessary to allow his successor Trustee or beneficiary to claim the account using a small estate affidavit (more on this in another post).
If you have a revocable living trust, make sure that you've funded it properly so that your family can avoid the need to probate your estate after you pass away.