Public Service Announcement: Make sure your trust is funded! This is a topic we’ve touched on before, but it is so important it bears repeating. Creating a trust is great, but it is only the first step in ensuring you avoid probate.
A trust when first created is like an empty box. In order to avoid the probate of your assets, the box must be filled. In other words, assets must be transferred into the trust. The method of transferring assets to your trust varies depending on the type of asset. For example, any real property you own (including homestead) is transferred using a quitclaim deed. For any tangible property (jewelry or furniture) or business interests, a document called an assignment assigns that property or interest to your trust.
For other assets such as life insurance policies, bank accounts, annuities, or IRAs, transfer to your trust is not necessary. Instead, we use pay on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) forms to name your trust as the beneficiary of the above assets. That way, upon your passing, the asset will transfer to the trust, and the trust will distribute your asset as you’ve directed.
Finally, if your trust is properly funded, please remember to conduct a periodic audit of your assets. This ensures that any assets you’ve acquired after creating and funding your trust aren’t left “hanging.”
Transferring your assets into your trust is critical. A trust that isn’t funded is essentially useless. If we can help you ensure your trust is funded and will work as intended, please contact us at (813) 244-7758 or Ross@RossSpanoLaw.com.