You’ve had your trust documents drafted and signed, now you assume your estate plan is in place and no further action is required. Unfortunately, this is not all that needs to be done to ensure your estate plan is effective. For any trust to have actual value, it needs to be funded.
The process of funding your trust is essential to leave property, cash, and other assets to your beneficiaries. Learn more about trust funding and proper titling below.
Funding is the process of moving assets, such as money and property into the appropriate trust. To fully understand funding, imagine your trust as an empty bucket. The bucket by itself doesn’t offer much usefulness, but once you fill the bucket up, it has a purpose. Trusts function similarly in that they are only useful when they have money or property in them.
The funding process involves retitling your assets in the name of your trust. Bank accounts, property, and any other assets will need to be titled in the trust’s name in order for them to be included in that trust, otherwise, it will remain empty. This can be done in one of two ways:
By doing this, your trust can be easily handed over to a successor trustee to manage in the event of your incapacitation - without the need for court intervention. Your successor trustee will have the right and responsibility to use the assets placed in the trust for you and your beneficiaries while you are unable to manage those things on your own. Fortunately, fully funded living trusts are exempt from the probate process, which provides a superior method of managing the trust for streamlined asset distribution and much more.
To properly fund your trust, you’ll need to work with the financial organizations you bank with to transfer ownership of your accounts into the trust’s name. Any real property you own will also need to be transferred into the trust’s name which may require a new deed to be signed with the correct information. Take a look at some of the common types of property that can be included or funded in your trust:
Accounts including checking, savings, money market, and certificate of deposit (CD) should all be regularly funded to your trust. To do this, you’ll need to work with the bank or credit union in which you have accounts to retitle them into your trust’s name. Commonly, you will be required to provide a certificate of trust that contains information the financial institution will need to complete the transfer. Just be sure that there are no early withdrawal penalties for retitling your CD accounts.
Real estate may refer to your personal residence or another property (commercial, residential, or industrial) owned by you. Real property refers to the interests associated with property such as mineral or timber rights. Both types of property will require the help of an estate planning attorney to prepare the appropriate documents and ensure the property deeds are signed and sealed specifically for your trust.
Investment accounts will also need to be transferred into your trust’s name which can be accomplished through your financial advisor or broker of a custodial account. To do this, a certificate of trust is often necessary for proper retitling of your investments.
Personal effects may include items such as jewelry, furniture, clothing, photos, artwork, collections, tools, vehicles, and more. You can easily move these items into your trust by signing an assignment of personal property.
In regards to your life insurance, it’s best to name your trust as the primary beneficiary of the policy so that the trust has authority over the earnings garnered from said policy. It is then customary to name loved ones or other special persons such as a spouse, partner, or child as secondary beneficiaries. Most insurance companies have processes in place that allow these changes to be made easily. To change the primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy, contact your insurance agent to get the proper beneficiary designation forms filled out and filed.
Retirement assets may include individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401k plans. Typically, it is not recommended to transfer ownership of these accounts to your trust due to the serious tax implications they pose for the plan’s owner. Before you assign your trust as the primary beneficiary on your retirement accounts, it’s crucial that you understand the potential tax consequences associated with this plan of action. Fortunately, your estate planning attorney can help you assess these risks and make the most appropriate decision for you.
The most common types of property are listed above, but these aren’t the only assets that you may want to be funded into your trust. To ensure that your legacy goes to the appropriate beneficiaries, and to avoid probate, it’s important to include all of your assets in your trust. Some of the other types of property that should be funded into your trust include:
Your estate plans matter more than you may think. While many people assume they don’t have adequate assets to warrant the need for a living trust or other types of estate plans, this isn’t the case. Reputable estate planning attorneys can help you develop an effective estate plan that safeguards your assets and ensures your legacy for generations to come.
Connect with Anderson, Dorn & Rader today to have your trust documents drafted and titled, and your trusts properly funded. We’ll help you retitle your accounts and ensure correct ownership of your property for an effective estate plan.
It can be intimidating to consider the possibility of relinquishing control over your property. People sometimes assume that you do surrender control of assets when you create a trust.
In this post we will provide some clarity about creating a trust in northern Nevada.
There are different types of trusts. Perhaps the most commonly utilized trust in Reno NV in the field of estate planning is the revocable living trust.
These trusts are largely useful to enable probate avoidance. If you use a last will to state your final wishes, the estate must be probated before your heirs receive their inheritances.
This process can be expensive and time-consuming. Most people would like to facilitate timely asset transfers.
When you use a revocable living trust to arrange for these transfers the distributions to the beneficiaries will take place outside of probate.
Because of the fact that the trust is revocable, you do retain control of assets that you convey into this type of trust.
You can act as both the trustee and the beneficiary while you are still living, and most people will do this. As a result, you can control investments and give yourself distributions as you see fit.
The control doesn't stop there. Because the trust is revocable, you can actually dissolve or revoke it at any time. The terms that you originally set forth are not etched in stone either. You can change them and add or subtract beneficiaries.
There are irrevocable trusts as well. With some exceptions, these trusts do require you to surrender incidents of ownership, so you do not continue to have control of the property that has been conveyed into the trust.
Because the trust is not revocable, you cannot dissolve it, and generally speaking the terms cannot be changed.
Why would you want to create a trust that did not allow you to retain control? There are a number of reasons.
Certain estate tax efficiency strategies involve irrevocable trusts. Because the assets would be owned by the trust rather than the estate, there are certain benefits.
In addition, when you surrender incidents of ownership by placing assets into an irrevocable trust they are generally going to be protected from creditors and claimants seeking redress. Nevada does allow some irrevocable trusts to be "self-settled," so some incidents of ownership are retained, but these are sophisticated strategies that require the advice of competent counsel to establish and fund.
The best way to proceed if you have questions about estate planning would be to discuss everything in detail with a licensed Reno Nevada estate planning lawyer.
Rather than looking for answers to general questions about what trusts can and cannot do, you would be better off consulting with an attorney. You can explain exactly what you want to accomplish, and your attorney can give you direct answers to your specific questions.
In a challenging economy we are often tempted to "DIY" (do it yourself). So, is it possible to write your own Revocable Living Trust? Yes, but you should know the disadvantages to a poorly drafted Living Trust before you begin.
There are three positions in the creation of a Revocable Living Trust Agreement: the Trustors, the Trustees, and the Beneficiaries. After completing the trust agreement, it is vital that you fund all assets into the name of the Trust. If you fail to set up and fund the trust properly, you risk at least two unhappy consequences: disinheritance and probate.
When you create a Trust, it is important to maintain your beneficiary designations. You must add new beneficiaries when they are born or join your family and take out beneficiaries who are deceased or have left your family. If you write your own Trust, you will be solely responsible for this. If you do not add or delete a beneficiary, or fail to do so in the proper form, you could possibly disinherit a loved one, or include someone who is no longer in favor. Many attorneys have a maintenance program, so your Living Trust can receive regular reviews to be certain you to update your beneficiaries properly.
One important purpose of a Revocable Living Trust is to avoid probate. Probate is a costly and time consuming procedure. If you create your own Revocable Living Trust, you are increasing the chances that your family will have to deal with this sticky process.
When you hire an attorney, he or she can help you properly fund your Trust, make sure you have not left out an heir and ensure that your trust agreement meets current estate law. If your document is not properly drafted, probate may be needed for your entire estate. If you have not removed deceased beneficiaries, a court may have to determine who your beneficiaries should be. Further, if you have not properly funded your assets into your Trust, the only way to do so is through the probate process.
Your attorney can also help you create a Pour Over Will. This Will may assist if you leave any asset out of your Trust. A Pour Over Will is a safety net to transfer your assets into your Trust typically through a short version of probate.
If you create your own Trust, you will also be responsible for your own Will. If you leave property out of your Trust and you don’t properly create a Pour Over Will, a prolonged probate will be needed to determine the rightful heirs-at-law.
When you "do it yourself" to repair a leaky pipe, it may just require a plumber to do it right, if your repair fails. Writing your own living trust is a complicated process that could be many times more expensive and time consuming when it is not done right. This is no time to DIY.
To learn more about living trusts, the living trust lawyers at Anderson, Dorn & Rader are here to help. Call (775) 823-9455 to schedule a consultation today.