Does My Father Need a New Trust If He Moves from Florida to New York?

 In Revocable Trusts

Question:

My parents had a living revocable trust. They lived in Florida. My mother passed away early 2017. I brought my father back from Florida to New York to live with me. Before we left Florida, I spoke with my parents’ attorney who told me that my father did not need a new trust in his name only. Fast forward a few months later and I am trying to assist my father to transfer his accounts to New York. Financial institutions are telling me that they cannot open an account for my father until a trust is created in only my father’s name.

Response:

Without seeing the actual trust document, I can’t be sure what the problem is, but I’d be inclined to believe that your parents’ attorney in Florida is correct and the financial institutions in New York are confused, or what they’re saying has been lost in translation.

There are many different kinds of trusts. Any of them should be able to open accounts with banks and other financial institutions. The institution will require a copy of the trust, proof of the trustee or trustees appointment and proof of identity, just as they would for an individual opening an account. They will also need a tax ID number for the trust, which in the case of a revocable trust can be the grantor’s social security number. In terms, of the trustee’s appointment, this can change when an original trustee passes away or becomes incapacitated and a lawyer may need to prepare papers for the new trustee to sign accepting his role.

In your father’s case, there may have been a trustee change when your mother passed away. Perhaps she was the sole trustee of the trust while she was alive. In addition, if your father no longer has legal capacity, he may no longer be able to act as trustee. If this isn’t an issue, it still might make sense for him to appoint you as co-trustee with him. Because of these issues, the difficulties you’re having, and the fact that your father may at least need a new durable power of attorney and health care directive now that he’s in New York, it would make sense for him to meet with a New York estate planning or elder law attorney.

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