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Anyone who has in-depth knowledge of what a Totten trust is, knows quite well that it is the best way to avoid probate. If peradventure you are planning your estate and you visit a bank with the eagerness to know how to prevent probate for an account you created there, one of the methods that would be recommended to you is Totten trust.

Totten trust is basically a bank account which is regarded as a POD (payable-upon-death) account. A POD is an account which can be easily accessed by a designated beneficiary upon your death. Such an account won’t have to undergo the stressful and challenging probate process.


POD are commonly used because they can easily be used to move cash upon death without the probate process. Probate proceedings aren’t only stressful, they also take time. If you don’t want to go this stress, then creating a Totten trust is the best way out.

Creating a POD is not definitely as difficult as the probate procedure. All you have to do to create a POD or to change an existing savings account to a POD, is to complete few paper works which will be provided by your bank. You will also have to provide a beneficiary who would be able to access and claim the account when you eventually kick the bucket.

After filling out the paper works, it must be returned to the bank so that the bank would be aware of who the designated beneficiary is. If you complete the paper work and store it at home, the bank would have no idea of who the designated beneficiary is and this could lead to a problem.

You can go ahead and name the beneficiary when still alive. Whoever you select as the beneficiary of the POD account, doesn’t have claim to the account until you are dead. This doesn’t only denote that the beneficiary can’t have access to the money, but if peradventure the beneficiary gets divorced, finds him or herself in debt, the account won’t be regarded as an asset of the beneficiary, not while you still breathe.

If you wish, you can decide to close the account, remove all the cash in the account, or select another beneficiary. The cash stashed in the POD account is basically like other cash you have stashed in your normal bank accounts. If you run into debt, your creditors can lay claim to it.

So, after your demise, if you still have cash in the POD account, the designated beneficiary can lay claim to the money in the account and withdraw it anytime he or she wishes. It becomes their asset at this point in time. The beneficiary may have to wait for a short period of time before the fund is released to them, but trust me, no probate process is required.


Well, much isn’t needed here. Definitely, the bank would have to be certain that the creator of the POD account is dead and that you are the actual beneficiary. As the designated beneficiary, you will have to tender a death certificate (which will act as an evidence of death) including your identity; that is anything to prove that you are who you say you are. This has to be done to ensure that the money doesn’t go to the wrong person.

Banks are quite conversant with the whole process and are the ones who will offer you the forms to fill, so they will certainly know when something fishy is about to occur.


A Totten trust can be created by anyone. Filling some forms and the provision of identifications for both the beneficiary and the grantor are all that is involved in the setting up of a Totten trust.

Creating a Totten account and depositing some cash into it is an awesome idea for anyone who has an inheritance that he or she wants his or her loved ones to benefit from without going through the stress of probate process.

Probate is a process that is carried is out on the will of an individual to ascertain its validity. This process also involve the distribution of assets and settlement of the debt of the decedent. The whole process is supervised by a probate court. 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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