Make sure that your living trust owns your assets
Attorney Tom Olsen: We got some great questions by text. And one of them is says, “With a trust, can you just list what you want in the trust or do you need to do something else to make sure it gets moved into the trust?” And that is a great question, Stan. We appreciate it.
Because people have living trusts for the purpose to avoid probate. In order to avoid probate, it requires two things. Number one, that you have a trust. Number two, that your trust owns your assets. Now when it comes to your living room furniture, hey, there’s no title to the furniture. That’s in your trust automatically. But almost everything else that you own has a title associated with it. It’d be a bank account, a CD, investment account, real estate. And for all those things that have titles associated with them, you must literally change the title into the name of your trust.
State it another way. It is not uncommon that we get a call from somebody who says, “Tom, my mom has passed away. She had a living trust for the purpose of avoiding probate.” My first question to them is, “Well did your mom – was her assets owned by her trust?” The answer often is no. And therefore mom just wasted her time and her money with a living trust because she did not fund it.
So I’m going to say it one more time. When you do a living trust for the purpose of avoiding probate, it is though you have built an empty vault or an empty safe and you must fill it up with your assets and that includes changing titles. Sometimes on living trusts, I see an exhibit A and exhibit A is blank and it says, “These assets are hereby owned by my trust.” Bank account, real estate, et cetera listed on that exhibit A, not good enough. You got to change the actual titles itself.
Chrissy: Make sure that you are not only checking with each of your financial institutions but that it’s also about real estate which we help you to do that. But oftentimes, when somebody comes where they have already done a trust, the real estate was not taken care of.
Attorney Tom Olsen: By the way, my advertiser right here on WDBO says a lot of people have living trusts and they have a false sense of security that that’s all they need to avoid probate. We offer to do a free review of their will or trust and that’s one of the things we go over, because not only do we look in the document itself, we are asking to make sure that their assets are owned by the trusts. And a lot of people out there have living trusts whose homes are not owned by the trusts and therefore their homes are going through probate. And there’s a great way to avoid that but there are a lot of people in that situation.
Chrissy: Exactly. So feel free to call or text Chrissy at 407-808-8398 and I will be happy to talk with you about that further and make arrangements with you as far as getting your documents to us so that we can review them for free for you.