Funding Your Trust: How to Transfer Assets to a Trust

Creating a Trust is a critical step in managing your estate and ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes. However, it's essential to understand that just creating a trust document isn't enough. Transferring assets to your Trust, also known as "funding" your trust, is the process of legally retitling your assets from your name to the name of your Trust.

If you are looking for information about adding assets to a Will, review this guide instead: How to Add Assets to a Will

Why is transferring assets to my Trust important?

Transferring assets to your trust is a crucial process that directly impacts how these assets are managed and distributed upon your death. The Living Trust document outlines the distribution of assets held within the trust, meaning only the assets that have been successfully transferred to the trust are covered. Assets not transferred into the trust remain outside its scope and are not subject to the terms laid out in the trust document. So, these assets typically have to undergo probate, a legal process that can be time-consuming and costly.

Benefits of Transferring Assets to the Trust

  • Avoiding Probate: Assets transferred to the trust bypass the probate process. This can significantly reduce the time and expenses involved in distributing your assets upon your death.
  • Maintaining Control: As the primary trustee, you retain control over the assets in your trust while you are alive. This means you can manage, invest, and distribute these assets according to the trust's terms without losing your authority over them.
  • Ensuring Privacy: The probate process is public, meaning the distribution of your assets can become a matter of public record. Assets within a trust are distributed privately, according to your wishes, without the need for probate.

How to Transfer Assets to Your Trust

Transferring assets to your trust involves legally changing the title of your assets from your name to the name of your trust. This process varies depending on the type of asset and whether it has a deed or title.

For Tangible Assets Without Deeds or Titles

Most tangible assets without deeds or titles, such as clothing, furniture, jewelry, and electronics, can be transferred to your trust using a blanket transfer document. This document simplifies the process for these types of assets.

Learn more about transferring personal property: Transferring Personal Property Without Titles or Deeds to Your Trust

For Assets With Deeds or Titles

Assets that have deeds or titles, like real estate and vehicles, require a more formalized transfer process. This often involves creating and recording new deeds for real estate or working with your local DMV for vehicles, to reflect the trust as the new owner.

Learn more about titling assets: How to Title Assets in the Name of Your Trust

More Information About Funding Your Trust

For detailed instructions on transferring specific types of assets to your trust, refer to the helpful trust-funding guide available in our Learn Center. This resource provides step-by-step guidance tailored to different asset types, ensuring you can effectively transfer your assets into your trust.

View, download, or print our comprehensive guide to funding your Trust: Trust Funding Guide

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