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For the lawyers on here, a quick question about something legal

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islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

I cannot get an answer from Banco Popular (here at the branch, and on the phone in PR) as to WHY this is not possible...

I had read about changing bank accounts to a Payable on Death (POD) / In Trust For (ITF) account as a way to keep $ out of probate. This type of account lets you assign a beneficiary, who can come with the death certificate and ID, and have access to your cash.

I was told (both at the local branch and on the phone with a rep in PR) that it is not possible, but I would like to know WHY and cannot get a good answer.

I just wanted to know if it is not legal / possible in the Virgin Islands, or is it just not something Banco Popular does.

I was hoping that any lawyers who read this form could answer the question, if they felt so inclined. *-)

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Topic starter Posted : August 3, 2017 5:16 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Cannot answer that particular question but if you have a trust instead of a will, give the bank identifying information (copy of passport, ID of trustee, copy of trust document) you don't have to deal with probate which takes forever in VI, costs a lot in Attorney fees and freezes all your assets and accounts until eventually and finally probated.

Make sure you list all properties, assets, accounts, vehicles, etc.
Keep updated if things change.

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Posted : August 3, 2017 6:50 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

Thanks Alana, yeah I have heard about the horrors of probate in the VI and have researched it extensively.

The POD frees your cash from probate so your beneficiary can access it, which would be useful if a relative from the states would have to come and take care of affairs. That way, if they needed cash for things they could access it right away. I have researched it extensively but do not know if it is legal in the VI.

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Topic starter Posted : August 3, 2017 7:09 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Hopefully someone can answer your specific question.
I'd be interested as well.

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Posted : August 3, 2017 7:21 pm
ironheadUSVI
(@ironheadUSVI)
Advanced Member

Or you can make the accounts joint...

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Posted : August 3, 2017 7:46 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

I am not married and my sibling, who I would name as beneficiary, lives in the states.

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Topic starter Posted : August 3, 2017 9:19 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

You definitely need to ask an attorney. Putting everything in a trust (your home, cars, accounts,etc.) really is helpful. You do *not* want to go through probate...

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Posted : August 3, 2017 10:44 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

The fun thing with those trusts is they are treated like a sales transaction for property. So you get to pay the transfer tax for homes to put it into a trust.

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Posted : August 3, 2017 11:32 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

Scubadoo, I forgot that part. Man they always have a way to stick it to you don't they?! I think that stamp tax was also increased recently?

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2017 12:25 am
Idlewood4
(@Idlewood4)
Advanced Member

Thank you for this post. For some reason I never thought about probate here. My will is in MA, but I'm now a VI resident. Given me a whole lot to think about as I go through my "Should I stay or should I go?" angst.

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Posted : August 4, 2017 10:56 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

The fun thing with those trusts is they are treated like a sales transaction for property. So you get to pay the transfer tax for homes to put it into a trust.

I put my properties in a trust here in VI and didn't have to pay a transfer/stamp tax to do so. Just a filing fee and, of course attorney fees to create it.

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Posted : August 4, 2017 11:29 am
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

I was going to say the same thing as Alana. We never paid anything to put stuff in trust. The biggest problem we have had is that First Bank won't let a trust have an ATM card so we have to keep one individual account. I don't get that one at all.

One thing I have heard is that there is no inheritance tax here. I think that doesn't count for trusts, just regular estates.

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Posted : August 4, 2017 12:06 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

Alana, did you set up the trust recently, or awhile ago?

If you did it awhile ago, something might have changed since then.

I put my properties in a trust here in VI and didn't have to pay a transfer/stamp tax to do so. Just a filing fee and, of course attorney fees to create it.

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2017 1:04 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

It's been a few years since I set up my trust but I've never heard about stamp tax having to be paid on transferring your property into your trust.
I keep tabs on stamp tax fees and legislation.
I'd imagine that if your trustee were to sell your property, then the estate would pay unless a buyer agreed to pay as part of negotiations, either fully or in part.

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Posted : August 4, 2017 2:18 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

thanks Alana!

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2017 2:34 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

You're welcome.
I do need to make some changes to my trust so I'll ask my attorney about your questions regarding "Payable on Death (POD) / In Trust For (ITF) account as a way to keep $ out of probate," when I do as I'm curious about it since you raised the question unless someone else can chime in with their experience or knowledge.

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Posted : August 4, 2017 3:24 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

I believe our attorney told us there was a stamp tax for transfer back in 2015 but we were discussing trusts and LLCs, he might have gotten confused. I'll try asking him again.

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Posted : August 4, 2017 3:42 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

I believe our attorney told us there was a stamp tax for transfer back in 2015 but we were discussing trusts and LLCs, he might have gotten confused. I'll try asking him again.

OK attorney confirmed stamp tax to transfer to LLC but transfer to living trust is exempt from stamp tax as long as the beneficiary to the property under the trust are current owner and close family. So it's somewhat dependent on how the trust is set up.

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Posted : August 4, 2017 4:15 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

thanks Alana and Scubadoo!

Alana when you ask, the other name for Payable On Death account is "In Trust For" and sometimes called Totten Trust.

Just wanted to know if it is recognized in the VI.

Maybe the issue was that I need to set it up with a lawyer, that a VI bank won't draw it up?

Here is a good reference on it.POD account to avoid probate

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2017 4:35 pm
rosesisland
(@rosesisland)
Trusted Member

Just curious here. What does it matter where a person lives on a joint account? My daughter lives in the states and is joint on our bank accounts, here as well as our bank in the states.

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Posted : August 5, 2017 8:24 am
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

Rose island, I should have noted that setting up the joint account won't work for my sister now as she has not been traveling for a few years due to her diabetic cat. The person going on a joint account has to go to the bank with you to set it up.

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2017 10:25 am
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

I always check nolo.com when I have a legal question. Been using it for years and always got the results I wanted. Here's the link to their POD article.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/avoid-probate-book/chapter1-1.html

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Posted : August 5, 2017 1:37 pm
islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

Thanks ms411, that is the site I checked. They don't say whether a POD is recognized in the Virgin Islands which is what I am trying to find out. The article makes it sound like you just set it up at the bank and I was told that was not possible but wasn't given a clear answer as to why.

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Topic starter Posted : August 6, 2017 6:29 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

According to the article that type of account can have various names. Did you only use POD?

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Posted : August 6, 2017 7:46 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

According to the VI Code, yes, POD applies.

131e. Types of account; existing accounts

(a) An account may be for a single party or multiple parties. A multiple-party account may be with or without a right of survivorship between the parties. Subject to section 132i(c), either a single-party account or a multiple-party account may have a POD designation, an agency designation, or both.

(b) An account established before, on, or after the effective date of this subchapter, whether in the form prescribed in subsection (c) of this section or in any other form, is either a single-party account or a multiple-party account, with or without right of survivorship, and with or without a POD designation or an agency designation, within the meaning of this part, and is governed by this part.

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Posted : August 6, 2017 7:53 pm
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