In our previous article, Crash Course in Wills and Trusts: Part I, we discussed the importance of a good estate plan and introduced you to the basic elements of such a plan. In Trusts and Wills: Which is Right for You?, we generally recommended a revocable living trust over a will as the primary vehicle for your estate plan. This week, we will explain the trust funding process. Hopefully, we will be able to help you determine which parts of the process you can accomplish without an attorney, with the aim of reducing your legal fees.
As we explained in the above articles, trusts are legal instruments that direct how certain property will be distributed and maintained. However, your property must generally be transferred to a trust before it will be subject to the trust’s provisions. In this respect, trusts differ from wills, which must merely describe the property in question and indicate how you wish the property to be distributed.
Before we dive into how to fund your trust, a few notes:
Below is a list of the steps necessary to transfer particular types of assets to your trust:
Although the trust funding process may seem like a lot of effort, the time and attorney fees that you spend properly funding your trust will pale in comparison to the time and money that you will ultimately be saving your loved ones.
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