Practical Estate Planning Tips Series 4 of 10

Tip #4: Amend your trust an add a co-trustee with you while you are alive instead of adding someone to your account(s).  

Many people will add a child to their bank account so they have easy access to it to help, but the problem is that 1) their creditors can come after the account because they are on it and 2) many times after death there is confusion as to who should get that account. Was it a gift to that specific child, or did you mean for it to go to all beneficiaries.

Adding a co-trustee while you are alive can avoid these problems. Once that is done then you update your accounts with both trustees on the account.  The co-Trustee then has access to the account(s) so they can assist you easily, it remains part of the trust so it is not subject to the child's / co-Trustee's creditors and it is subject to distribution as stated in the trust. Also, the co-Trustee is already on the account(s) at your death so they have immediate access.

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