The Importance of “Funding” your Trust

By Bakalar & Associates, PA

We cannot overemphasize the importance of properly “funding” your Trust.  

Your Trust can only control the assets you put into it.

You may have a great Trust, but until you “fund” it (transfer your assets to it), the Trust doesn’t control anything.

If your goal in having a Trust is to avoid Probate Court at death, or Guardianship Court in the event of your incapacity, then you must fund your Trust now before it is too late.

If you signed your Trust document but haven’t yet changed titles or beneficiary designations on your assets, you simply will not avoid Probate, in fact you may very well be guaranteeing that your estate ends up in the Probate process.

You are ultimately responsible for making sure all of your appropriate assets are transferred to your Trust.

Generally, to transfer assets to your Trust, you must execute new documents of title, deeds to real property, and signature cards for your bank accounts, as well as change of beneficiary forms for pension plans, individual retirement plans and life insurance policies.

Your financial advisor, accountant, broker, or life insurance agent may help you make ownership or beneficiary changes. However, you should always confer with your Estate Planning attorney to ensure you were properly instructed.

Generally, you should title all your currently owned and newly acquired assets in the name of your Trust. We prefer the following format for titling assets in the name of your Trust:

[NAME OF TRUSTEE], Trustee of the [NAME OF TRUST] Trust dated [DATE TRUST WAS SIGNED] and any amendments thereto.

It is recommended that you place copies of all written documents which evidence the interest of your Trust into your Trust Portfolio. These assets may include your accounts, real property, business interests, insurance policy proceeds, or any other property.

You should review your estate plan with an attorney every two to three years because all estate plans require on-going maintenance. In particular, a change in your family, an increase in your net worth, or a change in the tax law could significantly affect the effectiveness of your plan.

Please feel free to contact the Law Office of Bakalar & Associates, PA at 954-475-4244 or by email to with any questions you may have regarding funding your Trust.