Have You Properly Funded Your Revocable Trust?

Congratulation!  You’ve formed a revocable trust – also known as a living trust.  This is a great start to protecting your assets and your family’s future.  But wait…Did you know that your family will not have access to the benefits of a revocable trust, if you haven’t transferred your assets? This needs to happen when the trust is formed, and continually updated throughout your life

So how is this done?

In order to enjoy the benefits of your revocable trust, you must transfer ownership of your assets from you, to the trust. We call this “Funding the trust.” Your assets will then belong to the trust, and can more easily be passed on to your beneficiaries. Assets you should transfer include real estate, bank accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks and other investments, partnership and business interests, and personal property such as furniture and collectibles.

  • Real Estate

When you transfer your real estate into your trust, you use a deed. The deed names the current owners of the real estate as Granters, and designates the trust as the Grantee, or new owner. Your attorney or a title company can prepare and record these changes for you. Don’t forget to notify your mortgage company and homeowners insurance when this is complete.

  • Bank and Investment Accounts

Call your bank and tell them you need to transfer your accounts into the name of your revocable trust. If they are a local bank, they may require the trustees to come in to complete the transfer. If they are not local, they should provide you with the necessary forms. Some institutions will allow you to directly re-title your accounts into your trust name. Others will require you to open a new account in the name of your trust, and then transfer your money into the new account.

  • Business Interest

Transferring a business interest is usually done through an assignment agreement. This means the owner assigns his or her interests to the trust. It is important to check if a transfer is not somehow restricted. Depending on the business’s governing documents or state law, transferring the business interest may not be allowed, or may require the consent of other owners.

  • Personal Property

You will want to transfer some tangible property such as jewelry, china, art, and other collectibles. You can do this by signing a specific document to make it official. Your attorney will provide you with the right paperwork for this when you first sit down to make your trust.

  • Life Insurance

Most life insurance policies are not automatically transferred into your trust. You must complete a beneficiary designation form to ensure the transfer. This will designate your trust as the new beneficiary of your life insurance.

  • Retirement Plan

You should not re-title your retirement plan into the name of your trust. Several tax and asset protection issues arise when you name a trust as the beneficiary instead of an individual. It is important to consult with an estate planning attorney before changing the beneficiaries of your qualified retirement account.

  • Don’t forget to transfer NEW assets to the trust

Most people are diligent about funding a trust properly at the time they sign the original documents. The trouble comes later, when you acquire new assets.  Unless you transfer those new assets to the trust, they are not secure. To make the most of your revocable trust, be sure you acquire each new asset in the name of the trust.

Keep the name of your trust easily accessible, so you have it when you open a new account or purchase a new asset. Make a note of it on your phone or on a piece of paper you carry in your wallet or purse. Consult with an attorney if you are uncertain which assets should go into your trust. Call Sundance Law today, and let us help you secure your family’s future.

 

Sundance Law Group focuses on securing your future, family & business through estate and business planning, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, trust administration, and business planning contracts and agreements. Our offices are located in Highland and Lehi and we serve clients in Utah and Salt Lake Counties. You can contact us by phone 801.980.3401 or e-mail info@sundancelaw.com.

 

Why Should I Review My Living Trust?