Understanding 'Bill of Transfer'

What is a 'Bill of Transfer'?

A Bill of Transfer is a document used to transfer personal property into a Trust. This document acts as a "catch-all" for all personal items without formal ownership documents, such as deeds or titles, ensuring that nothing is overlooked in your estate planning. A 'Bill of Transfer' template is included in the Trust-Based Estate Plan.

Why use a 'Bill of Transfer'?

The primary purpose of a Bill of Transfer is to ensure that all assets, especially those without formal ownership documents, are included in your Trust. This helps in bypassing the probate process upon your passing and facilitates the smooth distribution of assets as per the terms of the Trust.

What property does the 'Bill of Transfer' cover?

The Bill of Transfer covers all personal property including household items, furniture, electronics, books, artwork, and other tangible assets without deeds or titles. Assets that have deeds or titles, such as real estate or bank accounts, require a different transfer process. These should be handled separately from the Bill of Transfer.

If you have specific items you would like to leave to specific people, you can specify in the Gift section of your Estate Plan instead.

Do I need to sign and notarize the 'Bill of Transfer' document?

While signing the Bill of Transfer is optional, it is recommended to ensure thorough coverage of all assets. It can be signed at any time, even after completing the other Trust documents.

The Bill of Transfer does not need to be notarized.

How to Complete a 'Bill of Transfer' Document Using the Template

The Bill of Transfer transfers your assets to yourself as the Primary Trustee of your Living Trust, as you are still living. Here is how you can fill out or modify the template for your unique situation:

  1. Print or edit using a PDF editor: It is not possible to fill out the document digitally through the website, but you can print or download the template.
  2. "Your Name": Enter the name(s) of the owner(s) of the items. 
  3. "Trustee Name": Enter the name(s) of the trustee(s). This is usually you as the Primary Trustee of your Trust while you are living.
  4. "Trust Name": Enter the name of your Trust to signify the transfer of property to the Trust.
  5. Signature: This is optional, but recommended.

Considerations for Joint Ownership with a Spouse

If you have a joint Trust, you can choose to customize the Bill of Transfer to include both your name and your spouse’s name in "Your Name" and "Trustee Name" if the property is jointly owned. Alternatively, print two copies of the Bill of Transfer and have each spouse fill out and sign their own document.

How to Access the 'Bill of Transfer' Template

You can view, download, or print your Bill of Transfer template directly from the Estate Plan tab:

  1. Click on the Trust Funding Guide
  2. Scroll to the Appendix end of the Trust Funding Guide 
  3. Or, access a PDF of the guide here: Trust Funding Guide
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