The Will is one of the most common documents one thinks about when discussing estate planning. While having a Will is an important component of the estate plan, one of the most beneficial tools to have in place is the Revocable Living Trust (RLT). When properly executed and funded, the RLT can help your heirs avoid the costly and time-consuming probate proceedings upon death or incapacitation.
Funding the RLT involves transferring your assets from yourself to your trust by changing the titles of your assets from your individual name to the name of your trust. A named trustee will hold control over the assets within the trust. The named trustee can be yourself, initially, so that you may maintain control over your assets during the course of your life. One of the benefits of the RLT is that you may continue using, investing, buying, or selling your assets within the trust just as you would if the assets were held in your name, individually.
However, funding the trust is one of the key aspects of having the trust. If you have one set up but do not transfer title ownership or provide transfer by beneficiary designation into the trust, probate may be unavoidable. Most often, the goal of having an RLT is avoiding probate at the time of death or incapacitation and, without properly funding the trust, this goal may not be met. Assets held solely in your name will not automatically go into the trust and, furthermore, they will not go into the trust until the completion of probate. This process can be drawn out and expensive.
Reviewing all of your assets to determine which assets should be transferred into a trust is an important step in the estate plan. Some of the assets you will want to review include:
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
- Real property
- Tangible personal property
- Business interests
We understand the complexities surrounding properly funding your trust. We can help you determine the best strategies for your RLT and ensure proper measures are in place for all of your assets. Schedule your complimentary consultation today to learn how we can help you with your estate planning needs or help answer any questions you may have.