Legal Definition and Related Resources of Totten Trust
Meaning of Totten Trust
The doctrine of Totten trust derives its name from the case of Re Totten, 179 N. Y. 112, 71 N.E. 748. under this doctrine a mere deposit of money in a savings bank by one person in trust for another, standing alone, does not establish an irrevocable trust during the lifetime of the depositor. The doctrine was originally founded upon the theory that this form of deposit is ambiguous, as it may have been adopted for some collateral reason, such as the desire of the depositor to evade a rule of the bank limiting the amount of deposit to the credit of a single depositor, or a purpose on his part to place the money beyond the reach of his creditors. Parkman v Suffolk Sav. Bank, 151 Mass. 218, 24 N.E. 43. Such a trust is revocable at will, until the depositor dies or completes the gift in his lifetime by some unequivocable act or declaration , such as the delivery of the passbook or notice to the beneficiary . See Brucks v Home federal Sav. & L. Assoc., 36 Cal.2d 845, 228 P.2d 545. The depositor retains complete control of the fund during his life while securing to the beneficiary any balance standing in the account at the death of the depositor. See Re estate of McFetridge, 472 Pa. 546, 372 A.2d 823.
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Totten Trust in Historical Law
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