What is the Totten Trust?

The Totten Trust is an arrangement created by a person depositing his or her own money in his or her own name in a bank account for the benefit of another.

The Totten Trust originated from the case, Matter of Totten, 179 N.Y. 112 (1904), and is sometimes described as "arrangements for deposit account. Historically, since this "trust" often didn't fulfill the formal requirements of trust creation or for Will creation, it was referred to as the "poor man's Will."

The Totten Trust passes outside of probate because the bank account automatically passes to the beneficiary named – rather than through the Will.