If my late mother had a living trust with her as trustee and me as co-trustee but I now need to open a bank account to pay her final expenses, what do I call the account?

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If my late mother had a living trust with her as trustee and me as co-trustee but I now need to open a bank account to pay her final expenses, what do I call the account?

And whose SSN do I use to set up the EIN – hers or mine.

Asked on October 22, 2012 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You should open an account in the name of the trust.  Florida has a provision for filing a notice of trust in the probate courts to let creditors & beneficiaries know that a trust exists.  Other states may have similar provisions.

You can also apply to the IRS for a tax ID number for the trust.  This would be similar to a tax ID number for an estate.  I assume you intend to gather your mother's assets, pay the final expenses, and then distribute the remaining proceeds to beneficiaries.  If so, there should be no tax beyond any income taxes that may be owed on your mother's income until she passed.  There should be no income from trust assets and, hence, no tax.  The estate tax exemption is currently $5 million, so there is no estate tax unless your mother's assets exceed this amount.

You may wish to consult a probate & estate attorney or tax accountant to help you administer the trust.  It sounds like all you need is a little consultation and advice.  One area to look at is your mother's creditors.  You want to make sure that a creditor does not come back after 6 months or a year and demand to be paid after you have distributed all of the assets.

I am sorry for your loss and wish you the best in winding up her affairs.

 


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