A common estate planning mistake many people make is creating a trust, but then not putting assets into the trust. The lawyer creates the trust paperwork for their client, but then the client walks away and nothing is done to fund the trust. If you don’t transfer your assets into your trust, it doesn’t accomplish the objectives you had when you established the trust.
Some lawyers don’t follow up on this critical step, but we do. We have our clients’ best interests at heart and we know that there’s only value in having a trust if it’s funded.
Here’s how you can transfer assets into a trust:
Real estate: A new deed in the name of the trust must be drawn and recorded at the county clerk’s office.
Stocks, bonds, mutual funds: Contact your broker, investment counselor, or transfer agent for the proper paperwork and complete those documents as instructed.
Savings bonds: You’ll need to get a reissue form from the Federal Reserve Bank and re-title the bonds in the name of the trust.
Brokerage accounts: Contact your broker for the proper forms that will enable the broker to close the existing accounts and transfer the assets into a new trust account.
Stock certificates: You’ll need to send a completed “stock power” form as well as a W-9 form with your tax ID number with the original stock certificates to the company’s transfer agent.
Bank accounts, CDs: New accounts will need to be established in the name of the trust. If your bank cannot transfer CDs until the maturity date, then mark them “in trust for” a beneficiary until the CDs mature and you can transfer them to the trust.
As your partner in planning for the financial security of yourself and your family, we would never let your trust go unfunded. Our concern for you doesn’t stop with the signing of any legal documents—we’ll always follow up with you to ensure everything has been done properly so you’re fully protected. If you need an estate plan, contact us at 617.299.6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll make a free, no-obligation initial consultation appointment with you.