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Totten Trusts

Should You Use a Totten Trust?

Totten Trusts can eliminate the need to probate a Will. You can create this type of trust with a bank account. In a Totten Trust the bank account owner names a beneficiary who becomes the owner of the account only when the primary owner dies. The Totten Trust is revocable: the primary owner can amend or revoke the trust during his or her lifetime. The beneficiary has no rights to the account before the owner dies. A New York City Totten Trust lawyer can help you determine whether this instrument is right for you.

When a joint tenancy is used instead of a Totten Trust, the joint owner receives an immediate interest in the account, including the right to withdraw some or all of the funds. This immediate right to obtain funds can cause problems if the new joint owner is not completely trustworthy. Also, it may be impossible to eliminate a joint owner from the account if the original owner desires a change.  At first glance a Totten Trust may seem like an easy way to plan an estate and to avoid probating a Will.  However, there are a number of pitfalls to this view.  First, if a person has numerous potential beneficiaries it is cumbersome to name them all as beneficiaries on a bank account even if the bank will allow this.  It is equally cumbersome to create many separate bank accounts for each beneficiary. 

A Totten Trust lawyer in New York City can advise you on whether it may be much more efficient to just have all assets pass through the probate estate and have a Last Will provide the amount or percentage each beneficiary is to receive.  Since account balances and banks themselves may change over time, keeping track of many Totten Trust accounts may result in some beneficiaries not receiving their intended inheritance.  Also, if a named beneficiary dies before the account owner, the account usually just passes under the Will and there is no provision for a contingent beneficiary on the account.  A Last Will or Living Trust can and should have provisions for alternative dispositions if a primary beneficiary pre-deceases the creator.  A qualified Trust and Estates attorney in New York can help you create the most appropriate estate plan using a Totten Trust and other vehicles such as a Will so that your intended beneficiaries receive their inheritance without estate complications.

As a New York City Totten Trust attorney, I have helped many clients deal with issues concerning Totten Trusts.

Regardless of the size of an estate, most adults — young and old — and their families benefit greatly from having a well-prepared estate plan consisting of documents such as a: Last Will, Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, Living Will and maybe even Totten Trusts. I can help you decide if a Totten Trust is best for you. I have many years of experience working with and advising clients in the creation and implementation of plans that effectively express the clients’ personal desires regarding the disposition and protection of assets while providing potential tax advantages and security for family and beneficiaries.

I graduated in the top 10% of my class at The New England School of Law in Boston and served on the prestigious “Law Review.”

Please come in to my office for a free consultation with a Totten Trust attorney in New York City and meet with me to discuss your options. To contact me in Manhattan call (212) 355-2575.

Client Reviews
I am very grateful to Mr. Jules Martin Haas attorney of law in New York. I am from Buenos Aires Argentina. He managed with expertise a very difficult situation. of a complicate heritage from my aunt Anna Grodzka that lived and died a very long time ago in New York. I recommend him not only for his extraordinary knowledge but also for his kindness. Irma CW Peusner
I found Mr. Haas after being misguided by a former attorney. Mr. Jules Haas took our case which involved an estate/trust dispute. What initially seemed like an impossible and overwhelming legal fight was now in the hands of someone who had the integrity and legal expertise to win our case. Mr Haas' attention to detail and his expert knowledge base, skillfully and successfully guided us through an intricate legal process. I am very thankful and grateful to Mr. Jules Haas for representing our interest and ultimately winning. Bringing about a peace of mind we needed. Thank You Devida Nedd
I was in need of a guardianship attorney and I hired the services of Jules M. Haas' Law firm. The service of counselor Haas and his staff, was very profesional and the case was handled in a timely matter. I would strongly recommend his services Angel Guevara
I strongly recommend Jules Haas. I have worked with him for two years and he has provided so much support and followed through with everything he promised he would do. His support staff is just as helpful! We had an interesting case and he helped to solve each part of it legally and was very thorough. Thank you for everything you have done to finalize our families estate Robyn Stafford
Jules Haas helped me with managing the process in probate court for my father's estate through to its completion upon the sale of my father's house. He was knowledgeable, efficient, and effective in submitting documentation to the probate court, explaining procedures to me, and advising me as to the progress of my case. His support staff was also very helpful. He made what for me created so much anxiety into something manageable where I could see progress every step of the way. His fees were very reasonable. I am super grateful to him for all the help he has provided and strongly recommend his services. Diana Janer
I just completed an estate transaction where Jules Haas represented my client in an estate and he did a great job! He was very quick at responding to all matters throughout the sale process, he was detailed, he was knowledgeable and he was a pleasure to work with. I just recommended him to some new clients who are going through an estate matter and will continue to recommend him. Rodolfo Lucchese