All of the estate planning in the world can fall short if you didn’t follow through on the additional steps required after establishing the documents. One major mistake that your family members might discover after you have passed away is that you forgot to fund a trust.

Likewise, you might even discover this over the course of your life time if the intention is to transfer assets inside the trust for the purposes of asset protection planning and when you failed to do so, exposed yourself to personal liability.

Creating a trust is the first and one of the most important steps to creating a comprehensive estate plan, but if you fail to follow through and fund the trust, you don’t receive any of the benefits that you intended. The trust by itself can be functional but fails to meet its full potential until you put something inside it. Often attorneys who prepare trusts will take care of the real estate for you, such as preparing a deed in trust or preparing a deed.

This means that a real estate is officially transferred into the trust. After this has been officially recorded, the real estate is funded into the trust. You should also verify, after transferring real property into a trust, whether or not the county auditor’s office requires you to refile your real estate tax exemptions. Your insurance agent should also be contacted about any implications on that end.

Most estate planning attorneys will also help you in the additional steps required to fund your trust, such as moving personal property like appliances, collectibles, clothing and furniture into the trust. Assignments or bills of sale can be used. An assignment should only be used for those items that do not have a title of some type. You should not rely on an assignment to transfer cars, stocks or other items that have a form demonstrating ownership.

You can request an affidavit of trust or a certificate of trust directly from your bank account and you will have new signature cards issued which you can sign for as trustee of the trust. These important steps must occur in order get the most out of your trust document. Talk to your lawyer to learn more about your options.

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