Should I Transfer Accounts with Beneficiaries to Revocable Trust?
Should I transfer savings and checking accounts to revocable trust? Beneficiaries are noted on accounts and we have durable powers of attorneys for us beside trust in case of incapacitation.
I would say yes except, perhaps, for your checking account. Having all your assets in your trust will make life easier for everyone. Your successor trustee can take over everything in the event of incapacity without having to present the durable power of attorney for each account. You could also have your successor trustee become co-trustee while you still have capacity to make his or her stepping in if necessary even easier. Often parents do this after the first spouse passes away. Finally, if you were to make a change to your estate plan, you could do it just once by amending the revocable trust without having to change beneficiary designations on a number of accounts.
The process will also be easier upon your death because your successor trustee will have access to all your accounts and will be able to facilitate distributions to the beneficiaries. With beneficiary designations, each beneficiary must prove his or her identity for every separate account.
The reason I hesitate with respect to your checking account is that you may have Social Security or other payments being direct deposited into it which you would have to change if you were to change accounts. In addition, you may already have on-line bill paying that you would also have to change. It may be easier to simply name the agent under your durable power of attorney as a co-owner of the account. This would give him or her easy access both in the event of incapacity and to continue paying bills after death.