I Have a Trust. Now What?

Sometimes, people will tell us that they did their trust a few years ago so they are done with estate planning. This may or may not be true.

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When people tell us that their estate plan is done, many questions come to mind.

Is it irrevocable or revocable? Is it funded? Are any updates necessary? Are all the ancillary documents done (i.e. powers of attorney, advanced directive, etc.)?

When we ask about funding, often times, people are not sure if their trust is funded. 

Funding is an incredibly important part of estate planning.

If your trust is not funded correctly, it may not be effective.

We provide our clients with detailed instructions as to how to fund the trust. We also help clients fund their trust, if they need assistance.

Funding a revocable trust requires you to transfer assets into the trust. Different types of property are transferred differently.

Some common ways to transfer property are as follows: 

  1. Houses and other real estate: We often recommend a Lady Bird Deed. We prepare this deed and have it recorded. It allows you to keep a life estate in your home. When you die, your house automatically is transferred into the trust.
  2. Personal property: All of your jewelry, clothing, furniture, etc. can be transferred to the trust through an assignment. These are typically signed at the same time you sign your trust. We also prepare personal property memorandums, so that if our clients wish to give certain items to certain people, that is easily done through the memorandum. For example, if you have a bracelet from a family member that you wish to give to another family member, it could be done via memorandum.
  3. Bank Accounts: Contact your bank to get the paperwork necessary to transfer ownership.
  4. Life Insurance: We typically recommend that the trust be named as the beneficiary. This way, when you die, the money should transfer directly into your trust, to be distributed pursuant to your instructions.
  5. Businesses: We work with clients to execute the necessary documents, depending on the entity type.

The above recommendations may change, depending on the situation, the state of residence, and amount of assets.

We help our clients know how best to transfer their assets, depending on their particular situation. We also help them know how to title their vehicles and other property. We work with our clients, and their financial advisors if they have one, regarding retirement accounts.

Funding is essential to protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out effectively.

Let us know if you need help with your estate plan, funding your trust, or if you have legal questions. We’re here to help.

Contact us today to help you get the right documents in place or to update your current estate plan. We will plan so that you don’t have to worry about your future.   

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