Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

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rhodnius
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Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by rhodnius »

Hello fellow Bogleheads,

We need advice on opening a taxable account with Vanguard. This question is mostly for asset protection. We live in Michigan. Should we open it as joint with tenants by the entirety or a trust account? If with joint with tenants by the entirety (both spouses), how do we designate our existing trust as the beneficiary as I heard that Vanguard does not allow putting beneficiaries on a joint account. Does this offer more asset protection than if we opened it under a trust account?

Please let me know.

Thanks!!!
Last edited by rhodnius on Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
samsmith
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by samsmith »

rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:33 am Hello fellow Bogleheads,

We need advice on opening a taxable account with Vanguard. This question is mostly for asset protection. We live in Michigan. Should we open it as joint with tenants by the entirety or a trust account? If with joint with tenants by the entirety (both spouses), how do we designate our existing trust as the secondary beneficiary as I heard that Vanguard does not allow putting beneficiaries on a joint account. Does this offer more asset protection than if we opened it under a trust account?

Please let me know.

Thanks!!!
What type of trust do you have? Revocable? Irrevocable?
Who is grantor and trustee of your trust? What did the lawyer of your existing trust say the trust was for? And how did he or she tell you to fund the trust?
darrvao777
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by darrvao777 »

rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:33 am Hello fellow Bogleheads,

We need advice on opening a taxable account with Vanguard. This question is mostly for asset protection. We live in Michigan. Should we open it as joint with tenants by the entirety or a trust account? If with joint with tenants by the entirety (both spouses), how do we designate our existing trust as the secondary beneficiary as I heard that Vanguard does not allow putting beneficiaries on a joint account. Does this offer more asset protection than if we opened it under a trust account?

Please let me know.

Thanks!!!
I was under the impression that a revocable trust doesn't offer any asset protection.

An irrevocable trust does but the money is no longer yours.

My spouse and I have opted for a joint taxable account with tenants by the entirety. We are involved in high liability businesses (not the same field) and feel comfortable with the asset protection offered via tenants by the entirety.
Topic Author
rhodnius
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by rhodnius »

darrvao777 wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:56 am
rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:33 am Hello fellow Bogleheads,

We need advice on opening a taxable account with Vanguard. This question is mostly for asset protection. We live in Michigan. Should we open it as joint with tenants by the entirety or a trust account? If with joint with tenants by the entirety (both spouses), how do we designate our existing trust as the secondary beneficiary as I heard that Vanguard does not allow putting beneficiaries on a joint account. Does this offer more asset protection than if we opened it under a trust account?

Please let me know.

Thanks!!!
I was under the impression that a revocable trust doesn't offer any asset protection.

An irrevocable trust does but the money is no longer yours.

My spouse and I have opted for a joint taxable account with tenants by the entirety. We are involved in high liability businesses (not the same field) and feel comfortable with the asset protection offered via tenants by the entirety.
Hi darrvao777,

Thanks for your reply. So for your joint taxable account with tenants by the entirety, how do you make sure that the money in the account goes to your intended beneficiaries when you both pass away? Does Vanguard allow you to assign a beneficiary?
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rhodnius
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by rhodnius »

samsmith wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:28 am
rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:33 am Hello fellow Bogleheads,

We need advice on opening a taxable account with Vanguard. This question is mostly for asset protection. We live in Michigan. Should we open it as joint with tenants by the entirety or a trust account? If with joint with tenants by the entirety (both spouses), how do we designate our existing trust as the secondary beneficiary as I heard that Vanguard does not allow putting beneficiaries on a joint account. Does this offer more asset protection than if we opened it under a trust account?

Please let me know.

Thanks!!!
What type of trust do you have? Revocable? Irrevocable?
Who is grantor and trustee of your trust? What did the lawyer of your existing trust say the trust was for? And how did he or she tell you to fund the trust?
Hi samsmith,

It's a revocable living trust. My spouse and I are the grantors of the trust and each other as the trustees first until we die then my brother and sister as successor trustees. The trust is for how our estate will be distributed to our nephews and nieces when we pass away. Our lawyer told us to fund the trust by designating the trust as the beneficiary in our retirement accounts. But for a taxable account in Vanguard, I don't know if we should open a trust account or joint account with tenants by entirety. And if a joint account with tenants by the entirety, how do we designate a beneficiary if we both pass away? We would like to designate the trust as the beneficiary.
gotlucky
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by gotlucky »

rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:04 am Thanks for your reply. So for your joint taxable account with tenants by the entirety, how do you make sure that the money in the account goes to your intended beneficiaries when you both pass away? Does Vanguard allow you to assign a beneficiary?
If you place the account in a trust, the trustee (or successor trustee) will be responsible for managing and distributing the funds per the trust document after you die, become incapacitated or whatever your trust document says. Through a trust, you can give all your money to the care of your dog instead of your kids. More realistically, you could decide only one of your ten grandchildren is worthy of your largesse and leave it entirely to her. You can use the trust document to specify how the money is distributed and it's the responsibility of the trustee to follow those instructions.

If it's simply a joint account, it's disposed of per your will or, if you don't have one ie intestate, per the instructions of state. This will happen AFTER your will is probated. With a will, you can't leave your money to care for your dog (not a person) but you can leave it to your favorite grandchild. However, you can't dictate how the money is distributed. Once it passes to beneficiary, he is free to spend it however he wishes. There is no trustee of the funds.

In general, it depends on the size of the inheritance and the situation of your beneficiaries. If I'm leaving $500k to my 5 adult kids who seem responsible, I probably wouldn't go through the expense of setting up a trust. However, if I've got $5M to distribute to, say, 3 kids from one marriage, 2 step kids (some of which are under 18) and some have drug issues and others are going through divorce, I'd probably set up a trust. Also, if I worried that when I died first that my spouse might remarry and/or squander the funds and thus leave nothing for my kids, I'd consider putting a portion of my estate into an irrevocable trust for my kids. I can achieve this by specifying it in the trust document AND placing assets into the trust.
Last edited by gotlucky on Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lieutenant.Columbo
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo »

rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:08 amOur lawyer told us to fund the trust by designating the trust as the beneficiary in our retirement accounts
is the trust the primary or the secondary beneficiary of your retirement accounts? thank you
Lt. Columbo: Well, what do you know. Here I am talking with some of the smartest people in the world, and I didn't even notice!
gotlucky
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by gotlucky »

Lieutenant.Columbo wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:34 am
rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:08 amOur lawyer told us to fund the trust by designating the trust as the beneficiary in our retirement accounts
is the trust the primary or the secondary beneficiary of your retirement accounts? thank you
If you have a spouse and kids or grandkids, you probably want to consider having them be the beneficiaries for your IRAs, 401ks, etc, provided they know how to take advantage of the stretch provisions.
darrvao777
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by darrvao777 »

rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:04 am
darrvao777 wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:56 am
rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:33 am Hello fellow Bogleheads,

We need advice on opening a taxable account with Vanguard. This question is mostly for asset protection. We live in Michigan. Should we open it as joint with tenants by the entirety or a trust account? If with joint with tenants by the entirety (both spouses), how do we designate our existing trust as the secondary beneficiary as I heard that Vanguard does not allow putting beneficiaries on a joint account. Does this offer more asset protection than if we opened it under a trust account?

Please let me know.

Thanks!!!
I was under the impression that a revocable trust doesn't offer any asset protection.

An irrevocable trust does but the money is no longer yours.

My spouse and I have opted for a joint taxable account with tenants by the entirety. We are involved in high liability businesses (not the same field) and feel comfortable with the asset protection offered via tenants by the entirety.
Hi darrvao777,

Thanks for your reply. So for your joint taxable account with tenants by the entirety, how do you make sure that the money in the account goes to your intended beneficiaries when you both pass away? Does Vanguard allow you to assign a beneficiary?
I thought I had assigned a beneficiary to that account but I will double check later.

At any rate, once one spouse passes, the other becomes the sole owner at which point you could designate a beneficiary

Our will also stipulates where the money should go once both of us are gone.
Topic Author
rhodnius
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by rhodnius »

Lieutenant.Columbo wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:34 am
rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:08 amOur lawyer told us to fund the trust by designating the trust as the beneficiary in our retirement accounts
is the trust the primary or the secondary beneficiary of your retirement accounts? thank you
Hi. The trust is the secondary beneficiary and the spouse is the primary beneficiary.
Topic Author
rhodnius
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by rhodnius »

gotlucky wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:21 am
rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:04 am Thanks for your reply. So for your joint taxable account with tenants by the entirety, how do you make sure that the money in the account goes to your intended beneficiaries when you both pass away? Does Vanguard allow you to assign a beneficiary?
If you place the account in a trust, the trustee (or successor trustee) will be responsible for managing and distributing the funds per the trust document after you die, become incapacitated or whatever your trust document says. Through a trust, you can give all your money to the care of your dog instead of your kids. More realistically, you could decide only one of your ten grandchildren is worthy of your largesse and leave it entirely to her. You can use the trust document to specify how the money is distributed and it's the responsibility of the trustee to follow those instructions.

If it's simply a joint account, it's disposed of per your will or, if you don't have one ie intestate, per the instructions of state. This will happen AFTER your will is probated. With a will, you can't leave your money to care for your dog (not a person) but you can leave it to your favorite grandchild. However, you can't dictate how the money is distributed. Once it passes to beneficiary, he is free to spend it however he wishes. There is no trustee of the funds.

In general, it depends on the size of the inheritance and the situation of your beneficiaries. If I'm leaving $500k to my 5 adult kids who seem responsible, I probably wouldn't go through the expense of setting up a trust. However, if I've got $5M to distribute to, say, 3 kids from one marriage, 2 step kids (some of which are under 18) and some have drug issues and others are going through divorce, I'd probably set up a trust. Also, if I worried that when I died first that my spouse might remarry and/or squander the funds and thus leave nothing for my kids, I'd consider putting a portion of my estate into an irrevocable trust for my kids. I can achieve this by specifying it in the trust document AND placing assets into the trust.
Hi. We already have a trust. The money that we will place in our Vanguard taxable account is quite large. I just want to know if it should be a joint accounts with tenants by entirety and how to place our trust as a beneficiary (keeping in mind that a joint account with tenants by entirety is better for asset protection) VS a trust account in Vanguard.
Topic Author
rhodnius
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by rhodnius »

gotlucky wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:40 am
Lieutenant.Columbo wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:34 am
rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:08 amOur lawyer told us to fund the trust by designating the trust as the beneficiary in our retirement accounts
is the trust the primary or the secondary beneficiary of your retirement accounts? thank you
If you have a spouse and kids or grandkids, you probably want to consider having them be the beneficiaries for your IRAs, 401ks, etc, provided they know how to take advantage of the stretch provisions.
hi. in all our retirement and bank accounts the primary beneficiary is the spouse and the secondary beneficiary is the trust. I just need a an advice where to open our taxable account in Vanguard: joint with tenants by entirety (knowing it is better for asset protection and how do we designate the trust as the beneficiary in the joint account) vs a trust account
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rhodnius
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by rhodnius »

darrvao777 wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:55 am
rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:04 am
darrvao777 wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:56 am
rhodnius wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:33 am Hello fellow Bogleheads,

We need advice on opening a taxable account with Vanguard. This question is mostly for asset protection. We live in Michigan. Should we open it as joint with tenants by the entirety or a trust account? If with joint with tenants by the entirety (both spouses), how do we designate our existing trust as the secondary beneficiary as I heard that Vanguard does not allow putting beneficiaries on a joint account. Does this offer more asset protection than if we opened it under a trust account?

Please let me know.

Thanks!!!
I was under the impression that a revocable trust doesn't offer any asset protection.

An irrevocable trust does but the money is no longer yours.

My spouse and I have opted for a joint taxable account with tenants by the entirety. We are involved in high liability businesses (not the same field) and feel comfortable with the asset protection offered via tenants by the entirety.
Hi darrvao777,

Thanks for your reply. So for your joint taxable account with tenants by the entirety, how do you make sure that the money in the account goes to your intended beneficiaries when you both pass away? Does Vanguard allow you to assign a beneficiary?
I thought I had assigned a beneficiary to that account but I will double check later.

At any rate, once one spouse passes, the other becomes the sole owner at which point you could designate a beneficiary

Our will also stipulates where the money should go once both of us are gone.
Hi. Vanguard told me that I cannot assign a beneficiary if it is a joint account.

What I'm worried about is if we both pass away at the same time say in a car accident. But the will you have has to go through probate which is lengthy and expensive right?
peppered077
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by peppered077 »

Hi rhodnius,

I also have been struggling with this issue and came across your post after googling for some help. I also would like to set up a Vanguard brokerage account with Joint Tenants by Entirety (for asset protection, allowed by my state) and would like to assign my Family Trust as a beneficiary. It seems like a simple request but I am finding out that it is just not possible. Vanguard is basically making us decide between having a Joint account possibly go through probate or giving up some asset protection. We have to decide which is more likely - both parents dying or getting involved in a lawsuit. Both are unlikely, but I don't think we should have to make that decision.

Also, they expect that if one partner dies, the other will take control of the account and remember to assign the Trust as a beneficiary. What if both partners die in their 90s, a few months apart? I just don't want to deal with all this uncertainty.

I'm looking into Fidelity and TD Ameritrade for future deposits for my brokerage account. I think Vanguard is making a poor choice by not allowing beneficiaries with the joint accounts and won't make any changes until enough customers complain and start moving their accounts. I wish I had a better answer but it seems like Vanguard is not offering any simple solutions.
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Lieutenant.Columbo
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo »

peppered077 wrote: Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:09 pm...a Vanguard brokerage account with Joint Tenants by Entirety (for asset protection...
ehem...The Bleak Future of Tenancy by the Entireties Holdings as an Asset Protection Tool
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afan
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by afan »

In my stse asset protection for tenants by the entirety inly applies to the family home. You are welcome to use that method of holding anything you want, but there is no asset protection other than for the one piece if real estate defined as the home.

If there is asset protection in your state for a Vanguard account held that way, then you have to weigh that against the hassle at the second death.

If you already have the trust but are worried about an elderly survivor forgetting to move the account into the trust then have someone else do it. Create a durable power of attorney over the Vanguard account. Make sure your attorney in fact has the right to move the account into the trust. Make sure you have instructions for this person of what to do if they have to take over. The plan about moving the account into the trust should be part of those instructions.

If you both die at the same time then your estate probably will have to go through probate, but check with your lawyer about the laws in your state.
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afan
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by afan »

You probably discussed this with your lawyer but the first step in asset protection is insurance. You may not be able to buy insurance to protect against the risks you fear but before you complicate your estate plan you should investigate that option.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by FBN2014 »

I already had trusts set up when I contacted Vanguard to name them as successor trustee. They looked over the trusts and provided a letter stating that when I can no longer serve as trustee due to disability or death that my POA or executor should contact Vanguard and they would provide the document necessary for them to accept the trustee appointment. However they reserved the right to decline appointment. Word to the wise is to make your trust flexible enough so that there is a backup plan in the event your designated successor trustee declines the appointment.
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afan
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by afan »

The lawyes should comment. I have the impression that there are several standard ways of defining how the trustee can be changed. Depending on the ability of the beneficiaries, they may be able to act collectively. If not, then some appoint an individual or entity that can change the trustee.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by deeppizza »

I am in a very similar position. I live in a state which recognizes “Tenants by the entirety”, and allows us additional asset protection above what “Joint tenants with right of survivorship” does, which is currently what our Joint account is registered as. Because Vanguard doesn’t allow a TOD designation with their joint accounts, I’ve thought about transferring (or re-registering) the account as a Trust Account. Does anyone know if there is the same asset protection with a Trust account as a Joint Tenants by the Entirety account? The trust is a revocable trust, and my wife and I are co-trustees. I called Vanguard, and they said that changing my current JTWROS to either a Trust account or a Tenants by the Entirety account would involve opening another account, and then they would just transfer all of the assets to that account.
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo »

deeppizza wrote: Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:04 pmI live in a state which recognizes “Tenants by the entirety”, and allows us additional asset protection above what “Joint tenants with right of survivorship” does
Florida?
deeppizza wrote: Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:04 pmDoes anyone know if there is the same asset protection with a Trust account as a Joint Tenants by the Entirety account?
let me know what you make of this?
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deeppizza
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by deeppizza »

Missouri
fourwheelcycle
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by fourwheelcycle »

rhodnius,

Your tenants by entirety question is a curve ball - I don't don't know anything about that. Are you sure it even applies to a brokerage account? Is it possible that it only applies to real estate?

In general, however, I would encourage you to use your revocable trust for Vanguard. We also discovered that Vanguard does not allow TOD designations for joint accounts, so we used our revocable trust. A revocable trust is better anyway, since it can handle many "what if" scenarios, where a TOD can result in problems if circumstances change at the same time you both happen to die in an accident. An example would be money designated as TOD to an adult child or niece/nephew who dies in the same plane as you, and their inheritance goes to their surviving ten year old, with no provision for a trust to be set up for the child. That provision would be in your revocable trust, but not in a TOD designation.

We do not live in a community property state like California, but we still chose to use a revocable trust instead of a will because it will allow our successor trustee son to gain access to our account immediately when we die, or the second of us dies, with no need for the time, hassle, or expense of taking our estate through probate. Vanguard has a Transition group who can talk to you about how an account in the name of your revocable trust can be "transitioned" to your successor trustees when you die.
Lastrun
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by Lastrun »

OP, please read this immediately below at pages 226-227:

http://www.actec.org/assets/1/6/Journal ... ring09.pdf

and this:

https://www.actec.org/assets/1/6/Kirkla ... Trusts.pdf

These articles are a few years old, but should help you, and others.
Intrepyd
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by Intrepyd »

Be careful with relying on Tenants by the Entirety protection in brokerage accounts. Although your state of residence may allow for protecting personal property with TBE, the state where the brokerage account is physically located may determine the governing law. In one bankruptcy case, a TBE account was successfully garnished by creditors even though the account owners lived in a TBE state, because the brokerage was based in Wisconsin, and the account statements were generated in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin does not allow for TBE protection.

Vanguard is based in Pennsylvania (good for TBE purposes), but the statements have a Wisconsin mailing address (bad for TBE purposes). Additionally, there is a clause in the Vanguard Brokerage Account Agreement that states that the governing laws related to disputes arising in connection with the account will be New York state laws. In New York, only real estate gets TBE protection, not financial assets.
ronin
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Re: Opening a taxable account in Vanguard Joint vs a Trust account

Post by ronin »

My wife and I are thinking about setting up a taxable account but may hold off until we setup a revocable trust first, so that we can presumably setup an account in the name of the trust instead of a joint account outside the trust. I take it Vanguard can accommodate this, right? I certainly hope so given Vanguard doesn’t allow for the designation of ToD beneficiaries on their joint accounts.

Am I understanding all this correctly?

Thanks.
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