Congratulations! You have created a living trust to avoid probate and ensure that your heirs will have instant access to their inheritances. However, your job is not done yet—and without taking the next step, you may as well toss your trust documents straight into the recycling bin.
The Basics of Funding a Living Trust in Florida
Funding a trust is the legal term for retitling your assets in the trust's name. Once your trust is named as the legal owner of certain assets, these assets have been transferred and are now "in" the trust. You can transfer as much or as little as you like, but remember that any assets still titled in your personal name remain outside of the trust and subject to probate upon your death.
In order to retitle your property, you will have to make changes to your:
- Real estate. One of the biggest benefits of using a living trust is the ability to transfer real estate without it going through probate. That said, you may not wish to retitle your homestead property in the name of your trust since the State of Florida already allows your homestead property to transfer to a co-owner without probate. If you do choose to transfer a homestead property to your trust, make sure to add the trust as an additional insured on your homeowner's insurance policy.
- Vehicles. You will have to change the name on your vehicle registration to that of your trust and also add the trust as an additional insured on your auto insurance policy.
- Bank accounts. Transferring ownership of bank accounts is a two-step process. You will have to add each individual savings, checking, and credit union account on your trust's transfer of assets schedule. Next, you will have to contact each institution where your accounts are located and re-register the accounts in the trustee's name or change the beneficiary designation to the trust.
- Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. If you have securities in a brokerage account, you will need to have your broker change the owner of the account to the trustee's name or the name of the trust agreement.
Let Us Review Your Documents and Give You Peace of Mind
Funding your trust can be a confusing and time-consuming process. In order to make it easy for our clients to get the most out of their trusts, we perform trust funding as part of the Yolofsky Law service.
Your estate planning advisor at our firm can:
- Save you from wasting time and money. A trust-based estate plan is a significant investment for yourself and your loved ones. For the gamblers out there, failing to fund the trust is like placing all your chips on one number and then walking away from the table. Not only have you spent money on the purchase of the trust itself, but you also lose everything it could have made (and saved) for you.
- Help you decide which assets are best held in trust. A trust can hold a single asset, specific assets, or all of a person's property. Since certain types of assets are impacted differently by intestacy and tax laws, it is best to have our estate planning law firm perform a thorough review of all of your assets and discuss the pros and cons of transferring each specific asset.
- Execute the documents. In addition to gathering the necessary information and documentation, we know how to execute documents (such as deeds or ownership certificates) so that the transfer of property is legally binding.
- Review your designations every few years. In a sense, your trust-based estate plan is never really done. Funding your trust is an ongoing process, with the opportunity for changes every time you purchase or inherit new property. We can perform regular reviews of your documents to ensure that heirlooms, vacation homes, and other assets are properly titled, saving these valuable items from the probate process.
At Yolofsky Law, we don't just draft documents. We help you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, both for yourself and the people you love. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you articulate your wishes and legally protect your loved ones for years to come. Give us a call today to discuss your options.