The Importance Of Funding Your Revocable Living Trust

Revocable living trusts are one of the most powerful tools in the estate planner’s toolbox and offer a number of advantages over wills. These include avoiding probate, reducing delays in the distribution of assets, greater control over your assets while you are alive and in the event of incapacity, greater privacy, and more. Unfortunately, many people who create a revocable living trust fail to fund it adequately.

What do we mean by “funding” a revocable living trust? Essentially, it involves retitling your assets into the name of the trust, as well as making sure that the beneficiaries of any life insurance policies or retirement accounts coincide with the provisions of the trust. If you fail to fund your revocable living trust, your estate plan won’t work as you intended and the trust will be only as valuable as the paper it is printed on. The consequences of not properly funding your trust include:

  • Assets held outside the trust cannot be managed by the trustee. So, for example, if you become incapacitated, your loved ones will need to establish a court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship to manage those assets not in the name of your trust
  • Assets held outside the trust are subject to probate, defeating one of the main benefits of creating the trust in the first place
  • Assets held outside the trust may not go to your intended beneficiaries

The bottom line is this—make sure your revocable living trust is properly funded. And, be sure to keep it up to date, so that any changes in your personal and financial situation, together with those of your loved ones, can be taken into account. In this way you can be sure your revocable living trust is helping you to accomplish all of your goals and maintain complete control over your affairs. Contact us today to review your trust, determine that it is indeed properly funded, and make any necessary updates to ensure it addresses your current needs and goals.