If you have decided to create a revocable living trust instead of a will, you’re probably hoping to avoid probate court, save your heirs some hassle, and keep your estate private. Now it’s time for the hard part— you need to fund your revocable living trust. To fund the trust, you essentially change the title or ownership information on assets that you own to your trust. You still retain the power to do what you like with the assets, but when you pass away, they immediately become subject to the terms of the trust. Find out which assets you can use to fund your revocable living trust.
- Real Estate
Maybe you own houses or land that you want to put into the trust. To transfer real property into your Trust, a new deed reflecting the name of the Trust must be executed, notarized and recorded with the County Recorder in the County where the property is located. Care must be taken that the exact legal description in the existing deed appears on the new deed. If the deed is not executed properly and title of your real estate is not in the name of your Trust on your death, a probate proceeding may be needed to confirm that property to your beneficiaries.
All your security accounts, stocks, and bonds can go into the trust. This is a good time to think carefully about your investments, reevaluate the risks that you are willing to take at this point in your life, and make any desired changes before you place these assets into the trust.
- Copyrights and Patents
Have you invented something, written a book, or created a piece of computer code? Did you design your own software or produce something that is your intellectual property? You’ll need documentation that signs these items or assets over to the trust.
- Bank Accounts
Checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, and time certificates of deposits can be titled in the name of your trust. The transfer into your Living Trust can be accomplished quite easily. All you need do is provide your bank with a copy of the Certificate of Trust which has been prepared for you. You will then sign new signature cards as Trustee of your Trust. Generally, you will not have to open new accounts to replace existing accounts; the only change is on the bank signature cards. For a checking account, you generally do not need new checks. Contact your financial institutions to determine the steps you should take.
Do you collect coins, stamps, baseball cards, or other items? Have those collections appraised and work with your lawyer to write up ownership documentation that assigns them to the trust.
Antique furniture or other items often appreciate in value with time. Make sure that you think about these possessions and transfer them to the trust as well so that they are protected and passed on to your beneficiaries. Look around your home and identify any statuary, sculptures, works of art, and other items of value that you need to include in the trust.
- Business Interests
Perhaps you started a small business with friends. If you have partnership interests, company shares, or a significant amount of stock in the business, you’ll can transfer that to the trust as well. Talk to your estate planning attorney to determine the best way to do this.
There are many more types of assets that you can use to fund your revocable living trust. Remember, since you’re using a revocable living trust, none of these decisions have to be permanent. Anytime you like, you can switch the titles or ownership of items back to you individually, removing those assets from the trust. You can also sell items that are already in the trust, or give them away to whomever you like. Consult your estate planning attorney to find out the best way to handle your assets, whether they are in or out of the trust.
Get Instant Access To My Free Guide
Discover 5 easy ways to make sure your children, wishes and assets stay protected should something happen to you (including tips for a living will)
About Nicole K. White
After losing a close relative, Nicole witnessed the devastation, enormous expense and chaos caused by not having a simple estate plan. It is Nicole’s mission to educate single adults and parents, especially single parents, about protecting themselves, their families, minor children, and assets with comprehensive Estate Planning.