Your trust has a name and a birthday. Both are used to identify your trust for purposes of funding assets into the trust; financial institutions and trustees need to know how assets are owned because trustees only have authority over assets actually titled in the name of the trust.
A trust’s title will look something like this:
John Smith and Mary Smith, Trustees of the Smith Family Living Trust, dated October 4, 2011.
Your trust’s birthday is the day you signed the trust papers. It serves to identify the trust and is part of the official name. If you’re filling out a form and it requests the birthday, simply use the date you signed your trust.
Often trust names are abbreviated because only so many characters will fit in the financial institutions’ computer fields. Abbreviation is fine so long as the trust is identifiable. If you have only one trust, there will not be confusion. However, if you have more than one trust, the names must be somewhat different to differentiate between them.
In addition, revocable living trusts are also identified by the trust maker’s social security number. If the trust is a joint trust, as is sometimes the case for married couples, either party’s social security number may be used. The trust doesn’t have a separate tax form and the couple files their Form 1040 income tax return just as before they had a trust.
If the trust is an irrevocable trust, it is its own taxpayer and it will have an EIN number issued by the government. Irrevocable trusts must file their own tax returns (Form 1041) if they have income.
Your trust’s content matters much more than its name. If you have questions about how your trust assets should be titled, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.
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