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In 2004, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) put in place new rules for insurance coverage of living trust accounts in FDIC-insured institutions. A living trust, sometimes called a family trust, is a formal revocable trust. Its owner specifies who will receive the trust assets when the owner dies. During his or her lifetime, the owner, also known as a grantor or settlor, maintains control of the trust assets and has the power to make changes in the trust.
The owner of a living trust account is insured up to $100,000 per beneficiary if each of the following three requirements is met:
(1) The beneficiary must be the owner’s spouse, child, grandchild, parent, or sibling. Not every relative qualifies. For example, cousins, nieces, and nephews do not qualify, but stepparents, stepchildren, and adopted children do.
(2) The beneficiary must become entitled to his or her interest in the trust when the owner dies. FDIC insurance coverage would be based on the beneficiaries who satisfy this requirement as of the time when a bank fails.
(3) The title of the account at the bank must indicate, with terms such as “living trust” or “family trust,” that the account is held by a trust.
While insurance coverage is based on the actual interests of each beneficiary, the FDIC will assume that the beneficiaries have equal interests in the trust account unless the trust states otherwise. By way of a simple example, if a father has a living trust leaving all of the trust assets equally to his three children, the account would be insured up to $300,000. The total coverage consists of $100,000 for each of the three qualifying beneficiaries, who would become owners of the trust when their father dies.