Parents' Joint Accounts

Home Estate Planning Parents' Joint Accounts

  • Avatar Dr_Acula 
    Status: Dentist
    Posts: 8
    Joined: 01/24/2018
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    My mother recently passed away.

    She and my father have a variety of joint accounts – mutual funds, bank accounts.

    He lives overseas, so I am handling most of the assets.

    He is now the sole surviving owner – we are in the process of transferring ownership/titles of these accounts.

    They have a trust, but it’s written different than mine. My wife an I has one trust named “Family Trust”.

    The two of them has “Father’s Trust” and “Mother’s Trust”, which is strange.

    Should I,

    1. Rename the account as “Mother’s Trust” – even though she passed away

    2. Rename the account as “Father’s Trust” – however he is not a US citizen, so there is no SSN, and the trust has no EIN

    3. Change them to joint account as my father and I – I do have a sibling who is also overseas, we will not be fighting over their assets.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    #114578 Reply
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2510
    Joined: 05/01/2017

    dude i think you need a pretty specialized lawyer not an internet forum.

    good luck though.

    #114612 Reply
    Avatar Dr_Acula 
    Status: Dentist
    Posts: 8
    Joined: 01/24/2018

    I’ve tried. They established their trust > 10 years ago. I am having a difficulty time tracking down their attorney.

    I’ve contacted my estate attorney, she’s either not interested or can’t practice in that State.

    #114616 Reply
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
    Status: Financial Advisor, Accountant, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 8153
    Joined: 01/09/2016

    This is not so easy as the question about the IRA you inherited from your mother (complex though that is!)

    If your mother was a US citizen, her executor (you?) must follow the stipulations of her Last Will and Testament. If there was no LWT, then the executor must follow the laws of intestacy succession in her state of residence. You can find the applicable laws for her stateĀ here.

    Your father may owe some kind of inheritance taxes, fees, or duties in his country of citizenship. The assets left to him by his wife will have no tax implications in the US if the value was < $11.2M.

    The trusts will pass outside of the estate according to the stipulations of the trust documents. Some states require that the trustee of a trust register the trust with the local court so you might also check there.

    I wouldn’t start retitling assets or makeĀ any changes until you:

    1. Have located the LWT and have a clear picture of that process and
    2. Have hired an estate planning attorney in the state where your mother resided.

    Good luck with all of this. Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you.


    Johanna Fox Turner, CPA, CFP, Fox Wealth Mgmt & Fox CPAs ~ ~ [email protected]

    #114627 Reply
    Avatar adventure 
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 1186
    Joined: 10/24/2016

    Our condolences on your loss.

    I’d agree with all of the above, and you suggest you make things simplier for you when your father passes. (legal issues notwithstanding, perhaps just put everything in 1 trust for your father, close the rest of it, and set yourself as the executor?). Something written from the sibling might be prudent just to have too.

    #114652 Reply

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