How to Properly Fund a Trust

How to fund a trust

Just because you established a living trust, doesn’t mean the estate planning process ends there. In order for the trust to adequately accomplish its goals, it’s imperative to learn how to properly fund it. Simply put, the funding process requires the transfer of assets to the trust. The nature of the property will ultimately dictate how you approach funding your trust. You can opt to transfer ownership or designate the trust as a beneficiary. 


When it comes to assembling trusts in Savannah, GA, it’s imperative to always consult with an Estate Planning attorney to ensure you’ve taken the necessary actions to fully protect your assets. Here’s a look at how to fund a trust. 


Transferring Real Estate Assets

To transition property over to a trust, it’ll require a deed. To comply with regulations, the deed must be executed in a manner that adheres to the laws set by the state in which the property is located – including notary provisions, having the required witnesses, and filing records with the appropriate agency. 


A summary of the trust (known as a memorandum or certificate of trust) or a copy of the official documentation often needs to be filed in many cases. A summary is typically preferred, as it protects trust details from being accessible via public record. 


For property that is subject to a homeowners association or a mortgage, you’ll likely need to secure written permission from these parties in order to complete the transfer. 


Transferring Titled Personal Property

Titled personal property includes trucks, cars, boats, motorcycles, airplanes, and similar items that come with a title document. To move forward, you’ll need to obtain a new title that designates the living trust as the owner. Depending on the state you reside in, you may have the option of designating your trust as a beneficiary – allowing you to keep the vehicle in your name until your passing. At that time, it’ll be automatically transferred to your Savannah, GA trust.  In Georgia, it’s very easy to transfer vehicles after someone has died without the need for probate, so in many cases, you can just leave the vehicle in your name and your family can take care of it when you pass away.


Transferring Untitled Personal Property

For a majority of individuals, there are items of value, such as jewelry, collectibles, furniture, tech, and more, that do not come with a title document. These objects can be transferred as long as they’re accompanied by a signed and dated “assignment of ownership” document. 


Transferring Bank Accounts

Every bank has its own distinct process – they’re able to clarify how any checking, money market accounts, or savings can be titled in your trust. For instance, those establishing trusts in Savannah, GA may be required by the bank to close their account(s) and establish new ones under the name of the trust. 


Transferring Fund Securities

If you hold stocks in street name with your brokerage company, the process is a pretty easy one and generally involved filling out a change of ownership form.  If you hold individual stocks in your individual name, it can be a  more intricate process to transfer them to your trust.   Your financial advisor will be able to advise on how to obtain reissued stock and bond certificates or retitle a brokerage account. 


Transferring Business Interests

If you possess any corporation shares or interests in LLC and partnerships, these can be retitled under the name of your trust. Keep in mind, it’s vital to review any LLC operating agreements, articles of incorporation, or partnership agreements, as these documents may contain specific transfer procedures or restrictions. 


By funding trusts in Savannah, GA through the transfer of assets, you’re ensuring your property is legally protected. Once you’ve funded your trust, any assets contained within will be safeguarded from the often lengthy and intricate probate process – meaning peace of mind for your family and loved ones.


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