It is relatively easy to set up a certain type of trust, known as a Totten trust. These are revocable trusts that allow a settlor unlimited control over the funds in the trust during his or her lifetime.
One of the reasons why some people hesitate to put assets into trusts, is their fear of losing complete control over those assets. While that fear is justified for certain types of trusts, there are other types of trusts where control over the assets is not an issue.
For example, one of the simplest types of trusts is known as a Totten trust.
These trusts allow settlors to place money in a bank account. They have complete control over the funds in the bank account. Anything that is left in the account when the settlor passes away, goes to a named beneficiary without having to first clear probate.
The trust can be revoked by the settlor at any time, making it easy to change beneficiaries. These trusts were discussed by the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in "Breaking Down the Totten Trust."
Totten trusts are cheap and easy to setup where they are allowed. People just need to go to the bank and fill out some forms. They are very similar to payable-on-death accounts that most banks also make available, so it is not essential to use the form of a trust to get the same benefits.
Totten trusts and payable-on-death bank accounts are only available for cash.
For other types of assets you might want to put in a trust and still retain control, talk to a Cincinnati estate planning attorney to go over your options.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Jan. 22, 2018) "Breaking Down the Totten Trust."