BofA: can't remove my Trust as beneficiary

I created a Trust in 2010 and listed it as beneficiary to my BoA checking account. On May 2, talked with a bank rep on another matter and he noticed this and questioned the wisdom. He said, “Worst case you die tonight. What does the bank do with this Trust? We have no idea what’s in it.”

More conversation, and I elected to remove the Trust and name my oldest son as the sole beneficiary. Son is the executor of my Trust already.

That was May 2, and today is May 19. So for 17 days, I’ve called BA everyday, some times twice, and had two long meetings at the local branch. Even got the branch manager’s advice.

Every single one said they would take care of it and make the change.

17 days later and nothing has changed and the Trust is still there. I even carried a certified, notarized copy of the Trust to prove it’s truly mine. Another mtg set for next week.

Does a Trust suddenly become untouchable? Sacred?

I am astounded at this, but can’t find a bank rep who can do this. and file a complaint
Bank of America
100 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

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If you found it worth the time and money to set up a trust, it’s probably worth getting actual legal advice rather than off-the-cuff remarks from some rando at BOA. The guy at BOA probably doesn’t have a fiduciary duty to you. Just my 2 cents, but I wouldn’t change the beneficiary without talking to an attorney.

You can always drain and close the account if they can’t figure out how to set the beneficiary as you want it.

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My post was already long so didn’t want to add any more. But the banker was correct in noting they would not know what to do with my Trust. There was no contact info, no phone # or address, Nothing. It was only the name of the Trust which means nothing without details.

That’s when he called the branch manager who looked at it and then agreed. BofA would probably turn it over to their legal dept to try and figure it out. [read: $$$]

She said the original bank rep should have added some kind of contact info. The atty who wrote the Trust did an outstanding job and added clarifications and details that I had not even considered.

That said, I would not expect him to change B/A policies.

And I have thought about your suggestion to drain the account into a new one. But–and this is a HUGE but–that account also funds over 20 autopays. It would take untold hours to set the autopays to a new account. [but I am considering it]

You (or your son after you pass) should be able to take an excerpt from the trust that says who the trustees are and what their powers are (that’s two pages for mine). I’ve had to do that for several things titled in the name of my trust over the years. It’s not really that big of a deal, but the first person I talk usually has to get help from someone else in the organization who knows how to do it.

Edit: since the beneficiary designation also bypasses probate, that may do everything you need the trust to do for this account anyway.

That happens all the time. I just want the Trust removed but can’t find somebody who can do that.

Since the trust is a beneficiary, the bank doesn’t need to know what’s in it or ‘do’ anything with it. After your death, the successor trustee named in your trust should go to the bank with your death certificate and the short form version of the trust document, fill out the bank’s paperwork on transferring assets to beneficiaries, and the bank should transfer your account to the trust. Then your successor trustee can distribute it to heirs.

If you want your son to get quick access to the money in your account, maybe changing the beneficiary to him would be better (more bank employees will know how to deal with a real person beneficiary than a trust).

Heh, that’s what I have been trying to do for17 days…

FINALLY found someone who understands it! I can’t change beneficiaries because it’s not a normal checking account. IT’S TRUST ACCOUNT.

Trust accounts can’t have a beneficiary.

I have NO idea how that happened back in 2010.
Now I will open another acct, xfer funds, and just close this one.

After going through bank account access (or lack of) after my dad passed, I put one of my sisters as a co-owner of my account. If I become incapacitated or die, she doesn’t lose access to the account (as I did as POA for my dad). I don’t want the account to go through probate, etc.

I wonder if putting your son on your account might be a work-around for this situation, especially if he’s executor (and maybe POA?) already.

That was one of the best solutions and it worked for my other accts. But not this primary acct because it’s a Trust. Can’t have co-owners or beneficiaries.

Another branch mtg on Tues to see if they can remove the Trust. [not confident]

I’m not sure why you cannot have co-trustees? I think it would be common among married couples… Or possibly a successor trustee?

I don’t know either. I keep working on it, but bank reps always lie by insisting they, “must comply with fed regs.” But I had no problem doing it with my Citibank.

I set my checking account up as payable on death to my daughter. Supposedly this avoids probate, although I don’t keep much in my checking account. I only did it because when my sister passed, we didn’t have access to her checking account to settle bills. Supposedly all my kid will need is a death certificate and the account is hers. From what I have read (not a lawyer), the POD overrides any beneficiary, including a trust.

I think if you really want your executor/administrator to have immediate access to your account for after-death expenses, then you should add that trusted family member to your account as a co-owner. No waiting for death certificates. Sure, they say it only takes a few days or a week, but it can take longer. My sister-in-law waited 52 (fifty-two) days for her husband’s d.c. No need to show up at the bank, bring proof of ID/SSN, etc. No problem if exec/admin lives in another state (unless you haven’t given them any blank checks).

Adding a joint owner is equivalent to an instant gift of half the amount in the account, so watch out for that.

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Interesting, thanks! Never thought of that.

So what’s the problem? If the trust is the beneficiary of the checking account it becomes the owner of the assets of the account upon your passing. Then the executor of that trust replaces you as the owner. It’s none of the bank’s business as to what’s in the trust. Why would they need to know?

The bank is not the actor in the scenario posited by the bank employee. The bank simply responds as per the law and your instructions naming the beneficiary, in this case the trust you named.

It depends on the type of trust and how it is written.

Five days ago, I noted the Trust is not the beneficiary, but the “owner” of the account!

In 2010, my wife had recently died and my mind was muddled, so I wanted my new Trust to be the beneficiary. Somehow, back then, I must have agreed to make the Trust the owner. I have no idea what happened.

Today, I want to change ownership from MY Trust back to me. [I have many reasons for this] But so far, phone calls and branch meetings are unable to do this.

I have opened another account, will move funds to that one and close this one. In my case, this is a lot of work as I have about 25 autopays, so will have to xfer them all.

Trusts are very useful but they can be tricky. It is VERY important that the guy setting up your trusts understands your wishes precisely. There are huge differences between marital trusts, remainder trusts and disclaimer trusts.

I spent considerable time with the trust atty to get it right, and very pleased with the results. I have re-examined it several times, but now, 14 years later, would not change anything.