A revocable trust provides a means of placing all of your valuable assets into a trust fund to be managed for your benefit. It is common for the grantor, who is the person creating the trust, and the trustee, who is the person who administers the trust, to be the same person in this type of trust, though this is not always the case. To move assets into a revocable trust you must put them into the trust’s name and file or record this information.
Change the property’s title on any real estate you own, and file the change with the recorder in the county where the property is located. While transfer of real property often triggers a new assessment, fees and taxes, many places waive all but recording fees when the grantor and trustee are the same person. You may need help from a real estate broker or an attorney to complete the appropriate forms for this step. You can obtain forms from them, online or from a stationery store.
Transfer the ownership of any cash-related accounts, such as savings accounts or certificates of deposit, into the name of the trust. This includes bank accounts and brokerage accounts. Typically you need to do this in person or with a notarized form supplied by your bank or brokerage house. Checking accounts are not normally placed in a trust account, since the balance of checking accounts changes frequently.
Change the name on any stocks, bonds or other securities. You can get a stock power form from the brokerage house, stock transfer agent or bank to use for this purpose. The form must be filled out and notarized or have a gold medallion signature guarantee.
Sign the original stock certificate, bond or other document and send it to the bank, agent or broker along with the completed stock power form.
List all assets on a property schedule. This should be filed with the revocable trust and can be updated annually with any valuable assets you acquire.
Items you will need
- Legal transfer forms for real estate, securities and other assets
- Account numbers
- Stock certificates
- A revocable living trust can provide a means of managing your assets if you become ill or incapacitated, and the assets can be returned to your control when you recover.
- A revocable trust will not protect your assets from taxation, because you still retain control over them. If you don’t want to pay taxes on trust items, you must use an irrevocable trust, but this has tax implications for the beneficiary. Check with an estate-planning professional when creating a trust, to make sure you get the benefits you are seeking.
- If you decide to include your automobile or other vehicle in your trust, you may have problems getting it insured. Since vehicles tend to lose value over time, they are not good candidates for inclusion in a trust in any event.
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