Many people prepare for the inevitability of their death by creating trusts to ease the transfer of, among other assets, the non-retirement brokerage account. Brokerage accounts titled in the name of your revocable living trust at your death escape having to go through the court-supervised Succession or Probate procedure, which many find unnecessarily time-consuming, expensive, and stressful.
Many people, as they age, have multiple accounts at a brokerage firm. Many have traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and non-retirement brokerage accounts. It's these non-retirement accounts that, when an individual's name at their death, get frozen and must go through probate.
In order to have your brokerage accounts titled in the name of your revocable living trust at your death, you must establish your trust and open a trust account at the financial institution.
I took a look at the requirements that three different financial institutions have regarding establishing an account in the name of a revocable living trust. Here are my findings:
(1) Charles Schwab. For a revocable trust, you must a copy of the trust title page of first page and all signature pages with the account application. You could supply an Extract of Trust instead with the application.
(2) Vanguard. You must attach with the Application for Trusts, copies of pages of the trust that contain the name and date of the trust, the trustees' names, and the signature pages.
(3) Ally Bank. To set up an trust account at Ally Bank, you must upload the pages describing the Trust, including the formal name of the Trust, Grantors and Trustees; the notarized signature page with Grantor and Trustee signatures – in some states, there may be a separate page completed by the notary; any amendments to the original Trust; pages with Trustee powers and provisions related to incapacity or death of a Trustee; and the page listing the beneficiaries who will receive the funds if the Grantor of the Trust passes away.
The key here to keeping the setup process simple is to give the financial institution what they are asking for. And before you know it, your legal affairs and your assets will be set up in a way so that your survivors will be thanking you one day for what you did to make it easy for them.
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Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
Phone: (225) 329-2450