After you’ve decided to create a living trust you need to take the next step: funding. Funding means transferring some of your property to the living trust so the trust itself becomes the new owner. While you should speak to your estate planning lawyer about what property you should transfer and how you need to do it, here are some general principles you will need to be ready to face.
For most people their home or other real estate investments represent their largest single asset. To transfer real estate to a living trust, you will need to transfer ownership and title of the property. Depending on the state where the property is located, this may require you to take a range of specific steps. For real estate, it’s typically best to let your lawyer handle the details.
Transferring a bank account to a living trust is relatively straightforward. Most banks will require you to fill out a transfer form and perhaps have it notarized. Some banks, especially small or local banks, may require you to appear in person and speak to a bank officer.
Similar to banks, investment banks or brokerages will also require you to complete some minimal paperwork before you transfer your assets to the trust. In some situations you may have to sign a signature guarantee, a document that you sign in the presence of someone with signature guarantee certification. If this is required, you can ask your bank where you can do this.
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