One of the key goals for most people in estate planning is making things as uncomplicated as possible for their loved ones after they’re gone. If you’ve got some substantial assets you’re going to leave to family members or other beneficiaries (like a home, a car and some bank, retirement and investment accounts), one of the ways to do this is by putting them in a living trust. You can even include “virtual” assets in your living trusts, like intellectual property and mining rights.
A living trust does not replace a will, but your will does need to reference the living trust. In most cases, people make the trust revocable. That simply means that you can make changes to it while you’re still alive. For example, if you sell your home or buy a new car, you can remove or add these assets.
How to include assets in your living trust
It’s simple enough to include your assets in a living trust – both those you currently have and those you obtain later. They just need to be titled (or retitled) so that they’re in the name of the trust. That’s because legally they belong to the trust. However, you’re likely going to be the trustee and have control over the assets – until you die.
When you set up a living trust, you name a successor trustee to take over upon your death and ensure that the assets go to your designated heirs and beneficiaries. Some people designate that all of the assets in their living trust be sold and the money divided among their beneficiaries.
Setting up a living trust doesn’t have to be complicated. However, it’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance to help ensure that your assets in the trust are properly titled and that any changes to the trust during your lifetime are made properly and in accordance with state law.