How Should We Keep Track of Our Family Accounts?

 In Estate and Gift Taxes
family accounts

Family accounts


I am trying to set up the chart of accounts for our family’s (my wife’s & mine) accounting. How do I categorize our (my wife’s & mine) revocable trust? Do I put all the bank accounts, investment funds, real estate under it as a separate name? Then do I track all income and expenses into and out of it? Or do I create a totally separate “company” and then enter it into my family accounting as an “asset” or “investment”? Thank you for taking the time to help a non-accountant to understand accounting.


I’m not sure where you’re creating this chart, on an excel spreadsheet or another program. But assuming it’s simply a spreadsheet, or even simply a Word document, I’d list each ownership category separately: Your assets, your wife’s assets, your revocable trust, your wife’s revocable trust (or one category if it’s a joint trust), and joint assets. This way, it will be easy for anyone looking at the chart to know how each asset is held.

It could look something like this:

Account Joe Janet Joint Joe’s Trust Janet’s Trust
Fidelity $200,000
Local Bank $23,000
Joe’s IRA $333,000
Janet’s IRA $555,000
Vanguard $600,000
Total $333,000 $555,000 $23,000 $200,000 $600,000

Another way to organize this would be to move the trust columns so that they’re next to the individual columns for each of you. The order of the columns might be: Joint, Joe, Joe’s Trust, Janet, Janet’s Trust. That way, it would be easier to see what each of you has since the columns for each of you would be next to each other.

However, your reference to “company,” “asset” and “investment” makes me wonder whether this on an application that already has these categories. They seem unhelpful to me.  A company would be a separate corporation. Assets and investments would simply be different types of items you would list under the ownership categories.

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