How to Title Assets for a Trust

By Valerie Stevens

Transferring property from yourself to your revocable or irrevocable trust is known as funding the trust. Only assets that are properly titled to the trust can avoid probate at your death. Exactly which assets you should transfer, depends on your financial picture -- but how you title the assets is the same for various trusts.

Transfer of Real Estate and Vehicles

When you transfer ownership of real estate from yourself to your trust, you grant the property to the trustee of the trust. If your trust is a living trust, you may serve as trustee to retain greater control over your assets. The deed must list the trustee as the recipient of the property, the complete name of the trust and the date it was created. For example, if the trustee is named Frank Smith and the trust was established by Suzy Jones, the deed will read: Frank Smith as Trustee of the Suzy Jones Revocable Trust dated September 20, 2013. The transfer is accomplished by recording the deed at the register of deeds in the county where the property is located. To transfer personal property, such as vehicles, to the trustee, apply to the proper government office in your state.

Other Assets

Bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other similar assets must be retitled to include the precise language naming the trustee as the new owner. If you choose to transfer assets that require named beneficiaries -- such as life insurance policies -- to the trust, you must name the trustee as beneficiary. Many financial institutions have specific forms they require you to fill out; some institutions will ask for a certified copy of your trust, while others will accept a shorter document that provides proof that your trust exists, which is often called a Certification of Trust.

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How to Sign Documents As a Successor Trustee of a Living Trust

References

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How to Delete a Trustee From a Trust in California

A trust is a legal device that allows someone to place assets under the control of a trustee for distribution to beneficiaries. It is often used to avoid probate upon the death of the person who funded the trust, known as the settlor. If the trust is revocable, the settlor may simply revoke or amend the trust to replace the trustee. Replacing the trustee becomes more difficult, however, if the trust is irrevocable. Under certain circumstances, however, California law allows the replacement of the trustee of an irrevocable trust.

How to Terminate Blind Trusts

A blind trust is a special type of trust where the beneficiaries are unaware of the trust's assets and a designated trustee has full authority to manage the trust, including the purchase, sale and exchange of its assets. Politicians and corporate officers often set up blind trusts to avoid conflicts of interest and public scrutiny. In some states, it is legal for a lottery winner to set up a blind trust so that he can anonymously claim his winnings. A trust creator, called the settlor, can set up his blind trust as either a revocable or irrevocable trust. If the blind trust is set up as a revocable trust, the settlor can terminate the trust by following the revocation procedure set forth in either the trust agreement or state statutes. While revoking an irrevocable trust is not always impossible, the process is difficult as it usually requires court approval and consent of all the trust beneficiaries. Common reasons a settlor may want to terminate his blind trust include a change in financial circumstances, unhappiness with the trust’s beneficiaries or desire to shelter trust assets from tax authorities.

How to Terminate an Irrevocable Trust

With a trust, you transfer assets to a legal entity set up to shelter your estate from the probate process. A trust allows you to control who will inherit your property after your death and give instructions to a trustee on how to manage that property. Although an irrevocable trust, in theory, cannot be changed or cancelled, there are ways to close down the trust and, if you wish, transfer assets to a new one. If the trust no longer serves the purpose for which it was set up, you may revoke it or draw up amendments that substantially change its terms. In most cases, this process will be subject to review by the courts to ensure that the beneficiaries retain the rights they were granted in the original trust.

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