Trust Funding: Why Setting Up a Trust is NOT Enough


As an Elder Law/Estate Planning Attorney, I hear on a regular basis, "I have a trust, I'm good." But last night was the first time that I ever heard my own SPOUSE make that comment. I proceeded to ask if he had updated beneficiaries or even added beneficiaries to accounts owned solely in his name to the trust we created three years ago. He had not.

Having a trust is not enough; you actually need to FUND your trust.

Setting up the trust without doing the above funding does not avoid Probate, which is typically one of the purposes of creating the trust. Those assets will need to go through Probate to flow through to your trust.

Typically funding your trust requires a deed/transfer on death affidavit for property, changing ownership of vehicles to the trust or at the least adding a transfer on death beneficiary to your title, changing ownership of bank accounts to the trust, or at the least adding a payable on death beneficiary to the accounts, updating beneficiaries on life insurance, IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.

If you have a trust already, please check to see if these steps have been taken. If you need help, please reach out to Durnell Maier Law. Schedule a free 1-hour consultation here.

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