Establishing a living trust is an important step for many individuals assembling their estate plan. However, it is not always clear how and when to fund a living trust. The flexibility of a living trust can often prove overwhelming to those not fully familiar with how to use such a tool. It is important to make sure that you have all the guidance you need to fully take advantage of all of its benefits.
You have a number of options for funding a living trust, and many people find that the easiest way to accomplish this goal is through the use of a pour-over will. When using a pour-over will, the assets that you do not specifically gift to particular individuals or parties get placed into the trust upon your death. In this way, the unassigned assets "pour over" into the trust upon your death.
This method does have its drawbacks. If you choose to use this method, it is importune to understand that you do forfeit many of the most sought-after benefits of using trusts, such as avoiding probate. Pour-over wills do not allow assets to avoid probate before funding a trust. If you hope to avoid probate and other associated expenses, it is usually advisable to fund your trust during your lifetime.
If you face the considerable task of building an estate plan, you may need more guidance than you expect. The issues at hand are very complex, and you may inadvertently miss out on important benefits if you do not fully understand the nuances of the laws and regulations in play. An experienced attorney can help you assess your needs and build an estate plan that features the flexibility you prioritize, as well as many other benefits.
Source: FindLaw, "How Do I Put Money and Other Assets in a Living Trust?," accessed Feb. 02, 2018