Many of my estate planning clients work at Intel, and receive Intel Restricted Stock Units (“RSUs”) as part of their compensation. These RSUs may be issued several times per year, and often take several years to vest. Intel employees have accounts at UBS containing both vested and unvested RSUs. These UBS RSU accounts pose special challenges in terms of avoiding probate by setting up a living trust.
I recently contacted UBS directly to confirm that my law firm had accurate information on how a UBS RSU account can be coordinated with an Intel employee’s living trust (we did). Key points are as follows:
- Ownership of a UBS RSU account cannot be re-titled to the living trust during the Intel employee’s lifetime.
- To be able to add a Transfer on Death (“TOD”) provision naming the living trust as a beneficiary of the UBS RSU account, the Intel employee must have upgraded to a “full-service account” with UBS, which triggers an annual fee.
- Another option is to transfer all vested RSUs to another investment account in the Intel employee’s living trust or that TODs to the living trust.
A worst case scenario in regard to the UBS RSU account is that, upon the death of the Intel employee, the RSUs can be transferred to the living trust by probating the pour over will. However, given that most Intel employees will have retired and closed out their UBS accounts during their lifetimes, relatively few Intel employees should ultimately need to have their UBS RSU accounts go through probate.