Trust Transfer and Beneficiary Designations
Your Living Trust only controls the assets that have been transferred to it either by you during your lifetime, or upon your death through a valid beneficiary designation. The importance of having a fully funded revocable living trust cannot be overstated – an unfunded or partially funded living trust does not avoid probate.
- We generally recommend that you make ownership changes to change the title of most of your assets from your name as an individual to your name as trustee of your revocable trust.
- For other assets, such as retirement accounts, we generally recommend that you make beneficiary changes to name your spouse, your living trust, or your loved ones directly, as the beneficiary of those assets upon your death.
Generally, to transfer assets to your trust you must execute new documents of title, deeds to real property, signature cards for bank and brokerage accounts, or change of beneficiary forms for retirement plans, annuities, and life insurance. Transferring all of your household furnishing and personal effects to your Living Trust is accomplished through a general assignment document called an Assignment of Personal Property.
The Trust Funding and Beneficiary Designation process is complicated and is of critical importance to the successful implementation of your estate plan. While most estate planning firms require clients to take responsibility for this critical step for themselves, we have found that very few clients are able to do this effectively on their own. Therefore, we offer to accomplish this for our clients for a modest additional charge.