Background: My wife and I live in California (if that matters) and have a living trust.

My wife and I recently opened an online savings account at HSBC. APY is 2.01 which was the motivation.

HSBC has no provision to establish a beneficiary. I have reached out to them twice.

What happens if my wife and I die?

Thanks in advance!

  • 3
    I assume the account is in the name of the trust... Wouldn't the trustees (you, your wife, etc.) be considered beneficiaries of the trust? The trust documents (and your will) should handle control and distribution of assets if both of you were to die... – BobT Oct 7 '18 at 20:28
  • 1
    Some major banks do not offer trust accounts but they do permit naming the trust as the beneficiary. I briefly dealt with HSBC and quickly moved on because they are a mess. Customer service calls often went unanswered for 5-10 minutes before disconnecting. – Bob Baerker Oct 7 '18 at 21:14
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    @BobT It is not necessary for a trustee (even of a living trust) to be a beneficiary of the trust, and unless both the will and the trust are set up correctly, the trust will own only those assets that are titled as belonging to the trust. The joint account in the name of the OP and spouse does not belong to the trust. – Dilip Sarwate Oct 8 '18 at 12:36
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    It may be a US/UK difference of terminology, but do/can bank accounts have beneficiaries? As I understand it in the UK, if someone dies, an account in their name will be part of their estate and be handled according to any will or laws probate etc. If an account is in the name of a trust, the rules of the trust (or decision of its trustees) will decide what happens should someone connected with the trust die. The only thing I've seen where you can nominate a beneficiary is with certain pensions and life-assurance policies. – TripeHound Oct 9 '18 at 8:42
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    "What happens if my wife and I die?" - what does the law say? SOMEONE inherits the money, gtets a court document and the banks follow the court order. – TomTom Jan 11 '20 at 20:07

My wife and I encountered nearly the same problem. We recently opened an HSBC Direct Savings account online. After multiple phone calls I was informed that there was no way to assign beneficiaries to my account online, by phone or even through the mail. The only way was to do it at one of their full service branches. Unfortunately, the closest HSBC branch to me is 5 hours away.

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