You can set up a living trust while you are alive to make it easier for your family to transfer assets upon your death. Typically, a living trust allows you to name yourself as the beneficiary and trustee of the trust while you are alive, and to name another beneficiary upon your death. The trust's provisions only apply to property you place inside the trust, but you get to choose which assets you wish to place in the trust.
Funding a Living Trust
Your living trust must be funded during your lifetime, which means you must transfer assets into your trust while you are alive. However, you can pick whichever assets you wish to include, while leaving others out of the trust. Upon your death, assets left out of the trust do not pass under its provisions. Thus, if you decide to place your bank accounts into the trust, those accounts will pass to the beneficiaries of your trust. If you choose not to put your bank accounts into your trust, however, they will pass in another way.
Other Options for Bank Accounts
Bank accounts can be transferred either under the terms of your will or by your state's laws, if you do not leave a will. Typically, you can arrange with your bank to transfer your accounts directly to a beneficiary when you die. This type of arrangement, sometimes called a payable-on-death account, skips the probate process, even without the help of your living trust.
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