For most people, financial security is a constant goal. However, it can be difficult to balance current financial needs with the plan for future security. One common tool used to meet this need is a Trust. You may well already have one in place. However, simply creating your Trust is not enough. You must have an ongoing strategy.
A Trust document is created to (1) ensure that your wishes are fulfilled upon your death, and 2) avoid probate. However, if your Trust is not funded, then the purpose lost. The attorney’s role is to draft the Trust document and to explain how funding it works; but often the attorney’s role ends there. “Funding” is the process of transferring title of your assets to the trust. To ensure that your Trust is properly funded, you should determine and review how your assets are titled. An experience and conscientious estate planning attorney can be a valuable asset at this stage of the process. Still, the more you can educate yourself on the process of transferring assets, the better. The following questions can help you determine some common assets that could be titled to your Trust:
- How is your real estate titled?
- How is your personal property titled?
- How are your bank accounts titled?
- Who are the owners or beneficiaries of your IRAs, stocks, and other investments?
- Who is the beneficiary of your life insurance?
If you have a Trust and are unsure how your assets are titled, one of the estate planning experts at Kreis Enderle will be pleased to review your estate plan and offer recommendations regarding funding and related Trust management issues.