Creating a trust allows you to pass money or property to family, friends or an organization of your choice without going through probate. However, the task of setting up your trust is not over when you sign the documents to create your trust. You have to fund your trust with the assets you want it to have.
If you do not fund your trust, your trustee will have nothing in the trust to give to the people or organizations you designate as beneficiaries. Kiplinger explains that to fund your trust, you must transfer ownership of assets to the trust itself.
Money and other financial assets
You may want to use your trust to pass money to someone. If you hold money in a bank account, you should be sure that the bank recognizes the trust as the owner. If you possess stocks and bonds, you must similarly designate ownership to the trust, perhaps through a securities assignment document.
Since there are different types of financial assets, you will need to review the various ways you can transfer ownership. You may need to reissue a stock certificate in the name of your trust or transfer your bank money into a new account with the trust as the owner.
Real estate and other properties
If you want your trust to contain physical property, you must ensure that the proper ownership documents transfer ownership to the trust. If you have property that has a title, you should acquire a new title that shows the trust is the owner. Common examples include a piece of real estate or an automobile.
But if you have property that has no title or deed, you will probably have to create an Assignment of Property document that formally assigns ownership to the trust. You may do this for possessions like jewelry, collectibles or a rare antique.
Using a pour-over will
If you fear that you will overlook certain assets for inclusion in your trust, one option is to draft a pour-over will that will transfer any assets remaining in your estate into your trust after you die. This may help ensure that your trust will benefit people or organizations as you wish.