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HAVENS MALCZYNSKI GRIGOLLA, LLP

Do I Need To Retitle Assets To Add Them Into A Trust?


Assets must be retitled in order to add them to a trust. When we retitle assets, they immediately become part of the trust. We do not have to revise the trust document in order to add assets into the trust. This is a very common misconception, that in order to add assets into the trust, the trust itself needs to be revised. This is simply incorrect. The trust document is like the bylaws of a corporation. It says what’s to be done with the assets that are titled to the trust, but it doesn’t actually necessarily list the assets that are titled to the trust. We retitle the assets, but we do not revise the trust document.

Can You Walk Me Through The Process Of Actually Funding A Trust?

The process of funding a trust is dependent on the specific assets are being put into the trust. If it’s real property, we create a grant deed or a quit plain deed, which would transfer ownership of that property into a trust.

Should The Trustee Have An Attorney Involved Throughout The Entire Process?

The trustee should have an attorney involved throughout the entire process. The process is complicated enough that even though there are resources available for the trustee to read and learn about special needs trusts, there are still subtleties that need to be taken into account. Having an attorney will protect the trustee from making errors. In addition, if they still make an error, the attorney who advised them is the one who would be responsible for that error, not the trustee personally. If it’s a bank account or a brokerage account, then we go to the bank or the brokerage with a copy of the trust, and ask them to change title of that account to the name of the trust as the owner. If stocks are held through a transfer agent, then the same process is done, except it’s done with a transfer agent rather than through a broker. The whole idea is to have these different assets titled to the trust as the owner.

Is the Funding Process Difficult?

The process can be tedious, depending on the nature of the assets. Some assets can be more difficult to use to fund a trust than others. It’s actually much easier to transfer a million dollar home to the trust than a $1000 bank account. This is because an attorney who is familiar with trusts, understands these transactions, and does them all the time can transfer the home to the trust. The bank account has to be done by someone at the bank, who may or may not be familiar with the trusts and the funding of the trust. It can be tedious, frustrating, or time consuming, but it’s not complicated or difficult.

How Is Real Estate Placed Into My Trust?

Real estate is always transferred by a deed. The deed is a document that describes the property, and describes the transfer. The deed is signed and notarized, and the county recorder for the county in which the property is located records it. These deeds are generally prepared by the attorneys, but can also be prepared by the title companies or escrow companies, as well.

Is It Necessary To Have An Attorney Assist Me In Funding My Trust?

An attorney is not absolutely necessary, but it is certainly advised. This is because the process of transferring assets is unfamiliar to most people. It’s just easier to do it if you have some instruction and supervision from someone who is used to doing this on a daily basis.

Additional Information On Funding A Trust In California

This is the most common omission for people who have a trust. When I meet with clients that already have an estate plan that includes a trust, the most common thing we need to do to update or revise the trust is to actually fund it. If they’ve done their trust with a paralegal or an online service, this step is frequently left out, and it’s critical. If the person dies and their assets are not titled into the trust, their estate must go through probate, just as if they did not have a trust. So while they think they’ve gotten everything into place and they are prepared, it actually has not helped their family in the event of their incapacity or death. This is a very important step that is too commonly missed.

For more information on Retitling Assets To Fund A Trust, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (626) 385-6303 today.

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