Importance Of Properly Funding A Trust

Hi here, Bridget Mackay here with the offices of Bridget Mackay in Petaluma. We do estate planning and elder law. And I want to talk a little bit today about what happens if you haven’t put all of your assets in your trust? Here in our office we call that “funding” your trust or your estate plan. And unfortunately, we see this situation quite often.

Just the other day I have clients, or new clients that came in. They had gotten a trust done with another attorney. And in the file, they had a series of letters that the attorney had provided for them to send it out to banks, brokerage accounts for CDs and all those other investments that needed to get into the trust or have the titling or the name of the trust on those accounts. And as I discussed with them further, if that had been done, they were confused by those letters. And in fact, those accounts were still just in their names, sometimes in their name individually. And the problem with that is that if something were to happen to them, only the things named in their trust, which at that point was their house, would go through probate. So, it totally negates all the effort and all the work done to get a trust in place.

So, this is a tale of caution for us. We often see these cases that come in when we’re doing trust administrations. Someone’s got to trust only half the assets are titled in the name of the trusts. The other half are still in the decedent’s name and so we end up doing a probate and a trust administration. It’s an incredibly costly thing to have to do.

So, if you have a trust, make sure all the assets that need to be in the trust are titled In the trust. And if you have a question about that contact an experienced estate planning attorney who could go through each asset and confirm and make sure that that’s getting done. In addition, I would say always review your trust within three years for the main reason of making sure that your assets are still in your trust.


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