Let’s say you’ve taken the time to consult with your estate planning lawyer and have decided that creating a revocable living trust is a good idea for you. You’ve gone to your lawyer’s office, signed the documents, and now have a brand-new trust ready to be used. What next?
The next step is to begin transferring your property to the trust. Depending on the type of property you want to transfer, this process can be rather simple or somewhat complicated. Your attorney will tell you what you need to do, but here are a couple of tips.
Whenever you want to transfer a bank account to your living trust you’ll first have to contact the bank and ask them what they require. They may have online forms available, or you may have to contact a loan officer or bank representative. Typically the bank will require you to fill out a single page form, but some banks may require more effort. Your attorney should provide you with documents to facilitate these transfers.
If you have a stock portfolio you can also transfer that to the trust, though it may be slightly more complicated than transferring a bank account. Some brokerages, for example, may require you to open a new account in the trust’s name and then transfer your existing account to the new account after completing specific forms.
If you already own a home or other real estate you’ll probably need to consult with your attorney before you do anything to transfer the home to the trust. Transferring title and ownership of real estate can be rather complicated and each state has its own requirements.
This process, commonly referred to as “funding the trust”, is an important part of creating an effective estate plan. If you consult with an attorney who does offer assistance wit this actions, find another attorney.