Do I Have to Fund All of My Assets into My Trust?

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Most estate planning attorneys would encourage you to fund all of your assets into your trust, either by change of ownership, or by change of beneficiary as mentioned above with retirement plans. A revocable living trust can control only those assets which are titled into your trust name.

There are exceptions however, and they may vary from state to state. Your professional advisors can provide counsel on assets that may need to be handled outside the trust process.

Can I Do the Funding of My Trust Myself?

Yes, you can take the steps to fund your trust yourself. However, most clients that start out with good intentions end up never completing their funding. When an advisor checks on the funding process a month or two later, they typically hear the client say one of two things: Either “Remind me what funding is again,” or “We’ve been meaning to get started on that, and haven’t had a chance to.”

The process of funding the trust can be tedious and time-consuming depending on the nature and quantity of your assets.  The biggest enemies of proper funding are procrastination and frustration. Most attorneys who specialize in estate planning will have processes in place to get funding completed efficiently, and to verify that the re-titling has been completed correctly.

You should normally expect to pay your attorney for providing this service. However, you will have the comfort of knowing that the assets are funded and they have been funded correctly. Also, the charges for funding assets into a trust are nominal compared to the costs that would be incurred if unfunded assets had to be transferred through a probate after death.

Your financial advisor who maintains the records on your financial assets can be of great assistance to the attorney because he or she will have records on most accounts, and the means with which to change ownership.