How is a savings account taxed when it's set up "in trust for" a beneficiary?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Pittsburgh, PA

Would it be better to have this beneficiary named as co-owner of this account?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Since this is posed as an estate planning question, I assume you mean which gives you a better estate tax result. I assume your estate is less than 3.5 million, so federal estate taxes are not an issue. For PA. Inheritance Taxes (PIT), joint accounts established more than one year before death are taxed based on the percentage ownership of the decedent. So a joint account would be only taxed 1/2 for PIT purposes. So joint tenancy would be preferable to an ITF account since the latter would be fully taxable.

    Hope this helps.

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  2. Franklin Moore Mclaughlin IV

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . The better question is to determine what you are trying to accomplish. In all events, the income will be taxed by someone - either the person who put the money in the account, the trust or the beneficiary.

    Adding the beneficiary as a co-owner gives the beneficiary (and his or her creditors) total access to the account. Is this what you were trying to accomplish? If not, then take a different approach.

    It sounds like you need to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to help explain your options.

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