Why do you need to fund your trust or lose it?

Have you ever heard someone talk about “funding a trust”?

Funding a trust means making a legal transfer of your property to the trust you create.

 For example, if you own a home, you would usually sign and record a quit claim deed that transfer from your name individually to the name of your trust or in some places, the name of your trustee.  When a trust is properly funded it ends up owning your property, while you still control the trust (assuming it is revocable).  It might look like this:

 Joseph Q. Smith, an individual to Joseph Q. Smith, Trustee of the Joseph Q. Smith Living Trust, dated September 13, 2011.

Why do you need to fund your trust?  
Because without funding the Trust doesn’t have anything in it, making it virtually valueless.  Also, if you are counting on the trust to help your family avoid probate, it won’t happen.  If someone passes away owning real property that is not transferred to a trust, your family is going to probate.

Now that you understand funding and the need to fund your trust, make sure you take care of it or talk to someone about taking care of it for you.

If you want to find out more about these topics please consider listening to my podcast series which is 8 brief episodes providing more detail on estate planning. You can subscribe to the podcast, Estate Planning Demystified, in iTunes or listen to it right here.

Posted by Shawn Roberts

I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. I tend to focus on estate planning and business issues. I make a living as an attorney working for Resolution Legal Group in Oklahoma City. I am husband to Amy and the father of Sam and David. We live exactly in the path where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."