If you have a trust, you might find by looking carefully at the estate planning documents that you do not really need to put assets into the trust while you are alive. Don’t let that fool you.

When you get a living trust, the estate planning attorney who drafted the trust will tell you that you need to fund the trust. That simply means that you need to transfer your assets to the trust.

This can be difficult at times, because you have to figure out what goes into the trust and what should stay out of it for various reasons.

The estate planning attorney can help you in making those determinations. Unfortunately, instead of asking for that help,  many people end up not funding their trusts.

They see that they were also given a pour-over will at the same time as they got the trust.

That is a will that says any assets in an estate should be transferred to the trust, after the owner of the assets passes away.

Since the assets will be transferred later by the pour-over will, people think there is no reason to do it now.

That is a mistake, as the Times Herald-Record discusses in “Importance of funding a trust.”

The biggest problem is that one of the main reasons to get a living trust is to avoid having your estate go through probate court after you pass away.

However, if you rely on the pour-over will to fund your trust, then the place your trust gets funded is in probate court.

It is the probate court that will have to direct assets to a trust. By not funding the trust on your own, you defeat one of the primary reasons that you got the trust in the first place.

If you have difficulty funding your trust, then talk to your estate planning attorney about what you need to do.

Reference: Times Herald-Record (August 17, 2017) “Importance of funding a trust

 

If you would like to discuss setting up your Estate Plan with an experienced attorney at Simmons & Schiavo, LLP, call (781) 397-1700.