Revocable Living Trusts in North Carolina are popular and effective estate planning tools. These trusts have many advantages including:
It is vital to remember, however, that sitting in the lawyer’s office and signing the paperwork does not complete the process of establishing a revocable living trust estate plan. All too often over the years, we have met families where the deceased loved one went to the time, trouble and expense of putting together a well thought out, professionally drafted trust, only to have never followed through with funding the trust.
Funding the trust is the essential component to enable the key advantage of the trust-based plan, that is – avoiding probate. “Funding” a trust is the act of putting property and assets into the trust – or making the trust the “owner” of the property or asset. If the trust does not hold title to the asset, the trust will not control the asset and upon the death, the asset may still have to pass through the probate estate of the deceased.
Real estate is transferred by way of a deed. In North Carolina, an attorney is needed to prepare the deed and the deed is then recorded in the Register of Deeds Office for the appropriate county.
Bank accounts and other financial holdings will have to be transferred into the trust by the bank or financial institution involved. One of the instruments that is provided to a client setting up a revocable living trust estate plan is known as a “Certificate of Trust.”
This document is used to prove the existence of the trust for reliance by third parties (like banks, etc.). This document is used to authorize the transfer of financial assets into the trust and still preserve the privacy of the contents of the trust instrument itself.
The determination of which assets should be funded into a trust can be a complex analysis depending on the size and variety of a person’s property. The input of attorneys, CPAs and financial planners is often desirable.
At The Doyle Law Offices, P.A. we have over 20 years’ experience helping families set up their revocable living trust estate plans. We are also able to give guidance and advice on what assets should be placed in the trust and help to accomplish proper funding of the trust.