You have probably heard that it is smart to create an estate plan that includes a trust. Having a revocable trust provides a way to avoid probate, but only if the trust is “funded.” In other words, the trust only protects the property that it holds when you die. Property that is not owned by the trust may be subject to the probate process, or worse, it passes outside of the documents you provided because of beneficiary designations.
Failure to properly fund your trust will defeat the purpose of creating it. Thus, as soon as your revocable trust is created, you should start transferring your assets to the trust. We can provide you guidance in how to accomplish this task. For real property, you will need to execute a deed that transfers the property from your individual name to your name as the trustee of the trust. We typically prepare deeds for real property at the same time we execute your trust. Other assets such as your bank accounts and brokerage accounts should also be transferred in the same way. We provide documents to you that give clear instructions to the account holders.
It is also important to remember that any assets or property that is acquired after the revocable trust has been created should be titled in your capacity as the trustee of the trust, not in your individual name. Also, your assets that are currently held jointly with another party or that have a beneficiary designation should be transferred to or payable at death to the revocable trust. If they aren’t, your estate plan has a hole and becomes unpredictable. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but your estate planning attorney should help you figure out the best approach for you.
If you are interested in learning more about creating a revocable trust or you need assistance with funding your trust, contact us for an initial consultation.
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.