What Happens When a Bank Account Has No Beneficiary Designations?

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We recently had a client who was named the successor trustee of her uncle’s trust and had the task in administering his Trust. All of the uncle’s assets were in the Trust except for a large bank account with no beneficiary designations. Typically, when a bank account (over $166,250) has no beneficiary designations and not titled in the Trust name, the bank account has to go through probate. In this particular case, we were able to avoid probate altogether, by preparing a Heggstad Petition. A Heggstad Petition is used when an asset is excluded from a deceased person’s Trust. The court is petitioned to transfer the asset (that should have been titled in the name of the Trust, but was not) into the Trust after the decedent has passed away. In our client’s case, we were able to show that there were multiple attempts by the uncle (before his death) and his Agent, in his Power of Attorney to move the bank accounts into trust. In the end, the Heggstad Petition was granted as we were successful in moving the bank account into the uncle’s Trust and also avoid probate!

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