One of the most important parts of elder law and estate planning is making sure that a trust is properly funded. While Tampa estate lawyers are often able to do much of the work on their client’s behalf, there are a number of legal documents that are needed to successfully transfer assets into the trust. Each document is necessary to show that the asset has been accounted for and that its ownership has been correctly transferred from the client to the trust. Otherwise, the client will not receive the full benefit of estate planning, which means the estate administration process will take longer and cost more money.
Most Tampa estate lawyers will get ahead of this problem by supplying clients with a list of what documents are needed for the transfers. Not every item on these lists applies to each client, but the client can speed up the process by carefully going through the items on the list and making sure that their assets as well as their businesses, heirs, and personal lifestyle are fully protected. Here are some of the items that are typically included:
Real Property Information
- Any recorded real estate deed for individually-owned property
- Copies of title insurance and homeowner’s insurance policies
- The most recent property tax bill for individually-owned property
- Recorded deeds concerning trusts, mortgages, and promissory notes
- Checking, savings, and money market accounts
- Safe deposit boxes
- Investments, mutual funds, and dividend reinvestments
- Savings bonds or treasury notes
Specific Assets or Credits
- Stock certificates
- Shareholder agreements
- Any trust agreements where the individual is a beneficiary
- Burial plot deeds or contracts
- Financials and contracts for annuities
- Retirement accounts, pension plans, IRAs, and 401(k) information
- Corporate shares
- Partnership agreements for general or limited partnerships
- Operating agreement for LLCs
- List of assets for sole proprietorships
Gathering these documents is a time-consuming process, but it is an important part of working with an attorney to lay the right foundation for your trust. Each of the items listed above may be used to fund the trust, which is why a change of title, beneficiary designations, or some other aspect may be necessary.
If you’d like to learn more estate planning and funding your trust, or if you have any questions about your current trust and how to fund it, please call us at (813) 438-8503 to set up an initial consultation.