If a living trust is not properly funded and maintained, it will not avoid probate.
For a trust to be funded, the assets must be transferred into the trust. The correct way to transfer assets into a trust is by changing the title from the individual to a trustee of your trust.
The following are examples of transferring assets into a trust:
- Car– If a car is owned outright, the title may be held in trust
- Real Estate– Title is transferred by a deed properly recorded in the county where the property is situated.
- Bank Accounts– Check with your bank, policies vary, some require merely a letter.
- Retirement Plans– . Because retirement accounts are often dealt with through their beneficiary designation, it is not needed to re-title them. Sometimes, a trust may be the designated beneficiary.
- Life Insurance/Annuities– Like Retirement plans, ownership may sometimes be transferred into trust. The trust may also be a designated beneficiary.
It isn’t necessary to transfer all of your assets into the trust however keep in mind, only assets in the trust avoid probate.
Remember, a trust can be established for any size estate. So stop procrastinating and make an appointment with an estate planning attorney today.