Updated: Oct 19
A revocable living trust begins as a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to the trust entity. You nominate a trustee, usually yourself during your lifetime, who will then manage and distribute those assets according to your wishes. Revocable trusts are often used to avoid probate, which is the court process of distributing assets after a person's death. Here at Three Rivers Law Center, we create hundreds of revocable living trust for our clients each year.
While creating a revocable living trust is an important step in estate planning, it is also essential to fund the trust. This means transferring ownership of your assets to the trust. If you do not fund your trust, then your assets will not be subject to the terms of the trust and will instead pass through probate.
There are several reasons why it is important to fund your revocable living trust:
To avoid probate. Probate can be a time-consuming and expensive process. By funding your trust, you can usually avoid probate altogether.
To provide for your loved ones in the event of your incapacity. If you become incapacitated, your trustee will be able to manage your assets and make decisions on your behalf without having to go through court. This can help to ensure that your loved ones and you are taken care of during a difficult time.
To maintain privacy. Assets held in a trust are generally not subject to public scrutiny. This means that your beneficiaries can inherit your assets without having to worry about their financial information being made public.
Funding your trust involves transferring ownership of your assets to the trust or by listing your trust as the beneficiary of an asset. Funding your trust can be tricky, so rest assured that Three Rivers Law Center advises our clients on how to property tie your assets to your trust.
Here are some tips for funding your revocable living trust:
Start early. It is generally easier to fund your trust while you are still healthy and have full mental capacity.
Transfer ownership of your assets to the trust. This can be done by changing the title of your assets to the name of the trust. You may also need to contact financial institutions to update your accounts.
Naming the trust as the beneficiary. Many assets can simply be tied to the trust by listing your trust as the primary beneficiary. This allows the asset to safely flow into the trust once you have passed away.
Keep your trust updated. As your assets and circumstances change, you may need to update your trust to reflect those changes.
Funding your revocable living trust is an important step in estate planning. By taking the time to fund your trust, you can help to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are taken care of so that they can focus on grieving and honoring your memory when the time comes. Your attorneys at Three Rivers Law Center are here to help.