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Placing Assets in a Revocable Living Trust

To achieve full benefit from a Revocable Living Trust, it is important that appropriate action be taken to transfer assets into trustee ownership. This process is often referred to as “funding” the Trust. Funding a Trust consists of retitling your bank accounts, bonds, stocks, real estate, and other assets so that the Trustee of the Trust is the owner of the assets. Funding also may entail changing the beneficiary of life insurance policies or retirement benefits to name the Trust.

Proper funding of a Trust also can ensure that estate tax savings are attained. A married couple with assets totaling more than the estate tax exclusion amount will need to discuss with their advisors the proper division of their assets between their Trusts to maximize estate tax savings.


Below is a list of things to cover when funding your Trust. Not all items will apply to your situation and the list is not exhaustive, so if you have an asset that is not covered below, please feel free to contact our office for advice:

  1.   If you are asked for the tax ID# for your Trust, it is your social security number. For a joint trust, you may use the social security number of either spouse.
  2.   Have your bank or credit union retitle your bank accounts, money market accounts and CDs into the Trust name.
  3.   Retitle stocks, bonds and investment accounts into the Trust name. If you have a financial advisor, they can assist you. If not, you may be able to find forms online.
  4.   Register your Durable Power of Attorney with your banks and financial advisors.
  5.   Give a copy of the Affidavit and Certificate of Trust Existence and Authority to bankers and brokers. If out of state, they may want copies of certain pages of your Trust instead.
  6.   Name your Trust as beneficiary of life insurance policies on your life.
  7.   Name individuals or your Trust as beneficiaries of your retirement benefits and annuities. See the letter included with your estate plan binder for instructions.
  8.   If you acquire additional real estate, either purchase it as Trustee or contact us to prepare a deed to transfer the property to your Trust.
  9.   Inform your insurance agent for your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy that you have transferred your property to your Trust and either: (1) confirm, preferably in writing, that the transfer will not negatively affect coverage under the existing policy; or (2) revise the existing policy (by endorsement or otherwise) to ensure the coverage continues under the new ownership.
  10. If the value of your vehicles is greater than $60,000, go to the Secretary of State’s Office with your Trust document and vehicle titles and transfer title to any vehicles that are paid off to your Trust.
  11. If you acquire any business interests, such as LLC membership interests or stock in a corporation, please contact us to transfer these interests to your Trust.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call and we will be happy to assist you. And remember, if you don’t have the time or it seems overwhelming, you can always hire us to prepare some of your funding documents for you. Please call for a quote.


“Karen, we really, really appreciate you! The better the planning we do, the luckier we have been, which is why I brought Aunt Betty to you 14 years ago, and we have sought your advice throughout. She is at peace knowing she doesn't need to worry about managing estate-related choices in her final days.“

Jay Smith

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