LegalJourney Blog

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Why You Need to Fund a Trust

How do I transfer assets into my revocable living trust?

There are a variety of estate planning tools than can ensure your loved ones are protected. While creating a will serves a variety of purposes, it must be probated which can be a time consuming and costly process. For this reason, establishing a revocable living trust is another option. This estate planning tool takes ownership to your property, but allows you (as the trustee) to continue managing your assets during your lifetime.

In addition, a well designed trust allows your property to be distributed to the beneficiaries without going through probate, and also allows you to name someone to manage the assets in the event you become incapacitated. In order for a trust in Florida to be valid,  however, the property needs to be transferred into the trust. This is known as "funding the trust."

Titled and Untitled Property

Certain titled property, such as real estate, bank accounts, stocks, automobiles and other vehicles need to be "re-titled" in the trust's name. If you are transferring your home or other real property into the trust, this requires preparing, signing and recording a new deed. The deed must be prepared correctly and reflect that the trust actually holds the property. A deed that is not properly prepared can subject the property to the probate process.

Further, personal property that is not titled including furnishings, artwork, jewelry, family heirlooms can be transferred into the trust with an assignment of personal property. Lastly, any property that is acquired after the trust is created must also be transferred. If the trustee neglects to transfer such property, it can be subjected to the probate process. The best way to avoid this situation is by creating a so-called "pour-over-will." With this estate planning tool, assets that were intended to be transferred pass through the will and are "poured" into the trust.

The Takeaway

While establishing a trust can protect your assets, avoid probate, and provide for your love ones, it is not valid unless it is properly funded. This should be a continuous process in which assets acquired after the trust was created are either purchased in the name of the trust, properly transferred, or covered under a pour-over-will. If you have questions about establishing and funding a trust, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.


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Attorney Karnardo Garnett represents clients with their Estate Planning, Elder Law and Asset Protection needs throughout the Tampa Bay Area, serving all of the bay area, including but not limited to Tampa, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Gibsonton, Riverview, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, Hillsborough County, and Pinellas County, FL



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