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Transferring Assets to Trust

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How Do I Transfer Property into My Trust?

If you have a living revocable trust, you can transfer property into and out of the trust whenever you would like. However, there are certain steps that you’ll need to follow, and these steps differ depending on the type of property that you want to transfer.

How to Transfer Real Property

There are several steps you must take in order to transfer real property into your trust. Remember, real property includes land and the buildings on it. In order to transfer real property into your trust, you must first determine how you own the property, e.g., solely, tenancy in common, joint tenancy, etc. Your property deed will reflect this information.

Once you’ve determined how the property is owned, you must then determine the correct deed to use to transfer the real property into the trust. Once the trust gets the new deed, the title company and/or the mortgage lender may require new title insurance, so be sure to check with both companies to see if this is required.

Now you’re ready to create a new deed. The new deed must copy the same language as the present deed in order to properly transfer the real property, but be sure to wait to sign and date the deed until you are in the presence of a notary public.

Once the deed has been signed and dated, the deed must be recorded in your county clerk’s office, the land records office, or a similarly named office. Be careful, though! If any of these steps are not carried out perfectly, the real property will not be successfully transferred and will not be owned by the trust.

How to Transfer Personal Property?

Personal property includes all the property that you own that’s not real property. Personal property can be broken down into two categories: tangible personal property and intangible personal property. Tangible personal property includes something you can touch. It usually has sentimental value to its owner, but it commonly has monetary value, as well. Tangible personal property often includes possessions such as: jewelry, art, collectibles, and antiques. Intangible personal property includes things like bank accounts, insurance policies, stocks, and bonds.

In order to transfer tangible personal property into your trust, you must first create a Transfer Document. In the Transfer Document, you’ll list all the possessions you want to transfer to the trust. While general categories, such as “jewelry” or “art” may suffice, you’ll probably want to be specific about which items you mean, especially if your trust has multiple beneficiaries. Lastly, you must sign the Transfer Document in order to make it official. Make sure you keep this document alongside your trust documents.

How to Transfer Bank Accounts and Insurance Policies

If you want to place your checking or savings account into your trust during your lifetime, you must change the title on the account to reflect that the trust owns the account. However, if you do not wish for this information to be reflected on your printed checks, you may request that your bank continue to print your individual name without this affecting the ownership of the account.

In order to make your life insurance proceeds payable directly to your trust, you’ll need to make your trust the beneficiary of the life insurance policy. Most insurance companies insist on using their own specialized formatting for making a trust a beneficiary, so be sure to check with your insurance provider prior to making any changes.

Transferring property into your trust can be a complicated process which might result in unfortunate, costly consequences. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you with this process to ensure that your needs and wishes are fulfilled.

How Do I Transfer Property out of My Trust?

If you have a living revocable trust, you can transfer property into and out of the trust whenever you would like. However, there are procedures that you’ll need to follow, and these procedures differ depending on the type of property that you want to transfer.

How to Transfer Real Property

There are several steps you must take in order to transfer real property out of your trust, whether it’s back to you or to someone else. The first step is to locate the living revocable trust deed. It should be the same deed you used to move the property into the trust.

Next, you must determine the proper trust-deed format that needs to be used. Then, find out if the title insurance company or mortgage lender will require new title insurance.

Now, you’re ready to create a new deed. The new deed must copy the same language as the present deed in order to properly transfer the real property, but be sure to wait to sign and date the deed until you are in the presence of a notary public.

Once the deed has been signed and dated, the deed must be recorded in your county clerk’s office, the land records office, or a similarly named office. Be careful, though! If any of these steps are not carried out perfectly, the real property will not be successfully transferred, and the trust will still own the deed.

How to Transfer Personal Property

Personal property includes all the property that you own excluding real property, such as land and buildings. Personal property can be broken down into two categories: tangible personal property and intangible personal property. Tangible personal property includes something you can touch. It usually has sentimental value to its owner, but it commonly has monetary value, too. Tangible personal property often includes possessions such as: jewelry, art, collectibles, and antiques. Intangible personal property includes things like bank accounts and insurance policies.

Before we look at how to transfer tangible personal property out of your trust, let’s first look at how to transfer it into your trust. In order to transfer tangible personal property into your trust, you must first create a Transfer Document. In the Transfer Document, you’ll list all the possessions you want to transfer to the trust. While general categories, such as “jewelry” or “art” may suffice, you’ll probably want to be specific about which items you mean, especially if your trust has multiple beneficiaries. Lastly, you must sign the Transfer Document in order to make it official. Make sure you keep this document alongside your trust documents.

Now, what if you’ve changed your mind about who you think should get what? No problem! You can change the Transfer Document at any time. It’s best practice to completely destroy the former Transfer Document and create an entirely new document to be signed and dated. Again, be sure to keep this document alongside your trust documents in a secure location.

How to Transfer Bank Accounts and Insurance Policies

If you want to place your checking or savings account into your trust during your lifetime, you must change the title on the account to reflect that the trust owns the account. However, if you do not wish for this information to be reflected on your printed checks, you may request that your bank continue to print your individual name without this affecting the ownership of the account. If you wish to remove the bank account from your trust, you merely need to contact the bank and re-title the account to reflect your personal ownership again.

In order to make your life insurance proceeds payable directly to your trust, you’ll need to make your trust the beneficiary of the life insurance policy. Most insurance companies insist on using their own specialized formatting for making a trust a beneficiary, so be sure to check with your insurance provider prior to making any changes. Similar to the process with bank accounts, in order to transfer the proceeds out of your trust account, you must contact your insurance company in order to change the beneficiary.

Transferring property out of your trust can be a complicated process which might result in unfortunate, costly consequences. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you with this process to ensure that your needs and wishes are fulfilled.

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