What Assets Can I Put Into My Trust?
Your trust can only control the assets that it owns. Therefore, if your goal is to avoid probate, you should fund into your trust as many of your assets as possible. The reason for this is that probate law, instead of trust law, will control the assets that remain in your name alone. I would suggest that you consider putting the following types of assets into your trust. First, fund all of your real estate holdings into the trust. This might include the home where you live, a lake house or a cabin, a second home, and all mineral rights that you own, if they are not connected to an earlier mentioned piece of real estate.
Next, consider putting all of your financial accounts in the name of the trust. Checking and saving accounts are quite easy to transfer. You can often save time and money to you and to your estate if these accounts are controlled by your trust.
In certain circumstances, I recommend putting vehicles into the name of the trust. For example, if you own a classic vehicle that you rarely drive and that you anticipate owning for the rest of your life, it should be placed into ownership of the trust. Further, if you own a recreational vehicle that you intend to keep for many years, you should consider funding it into the name of your trust.
Next, you can and probably should transfer ownership of your personal assets, such as your household furnishings, into the name of your trust. Some people may skip this step thinking that it will never be a problem, sometimes they are correct, but in other events, the family begins to find reasons to fight over these items. In such situations, it would have been cheaper had the trust controlled all of those assets from the beginning.
Is There Anything I should Not Put Into My Trust?
Yes, there are some things that should not be put into the name of a trust. For example, consider your daily automobile. This automobile represents one of your greatest opportunities for a lawsuit. Accidents happen and lawsuits sometimes follow them. It is often advisable that your trust not own the vehicle so that the trust will not be named as a defendant in a lawsuit. It is often better to keep this automobile, which represents your greatest liability, unassociated with the legal vehicle, your trust that holds your greatest assets. There are many other examples of assets not generally funded into a trust, but the identification of them should be something you discuss in detail with your attorney because the right answers will vary by person. Some people should put their entire estate into their trust, whereas other people should keep many assets out of their trust.
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