How do I get my Trust Funded?

Creation of a trust and funding a trust are two entirely different matters. If your trust has been created properly, your efforts may be wasted if the trust is not properly funded.

“Funding” is the term used to describe all the different kinds of things that have to be done to get assets titled in the name of a trust. It is an essential part of the process, and usually is part of the job taken on by the lawyer who drafted the trust.

Some assets are fairly easy. The house title, at least for Utah properties, is easy to prepare. If there is out-of-state real property, we may need to involve a lawyer from the state where the property is — but even that is usually a fairly modest cost. A lawyer in, say, Indiana might transfer Indiana property to the Utah trust at a low cost, hoping that we will return the favor the next time she has a Utah property to transfer into an Indiana trust.

Other assets can be more complicated. Your bank, credit union, or brokerage house may resist or refuse to change accounts into the trust’s name. You need to closely follow up with them, because sometimes it will appear they have done it right, but then later you might find the title has not actually changed.
Assets that get changed after the trust is signed can be tricky. If you have refinanced your home mortgage, purchased a certificate of deposit from a new financial institution, or talked to your “personal banker” about accounts, you might have signed new title documents. You often will not even realize this is happening, and it if does, you need to make sure the new documents are titled in the name of the trust.

There are also beneficiary designations to consider. Life insurance, IRAs and other retirement accounts and annuities almost always have beneficiary designations. Constantly changing beneficiaries can actually disconnect assets from the rest of your estate plan.

In addition to all these funding issues, assets frequently get overlooked. Both large and small assets such as mineral rights or old life insurance policies can be easily forgotten.

It would be best to address all of these possible funding issues while you are still alive. The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.