What to Do After Creating a Living Trust
Leaving your estate planner’s office with your executed documents is not the last step of a successful estate plan. There are still several steps that you will need to take after creating a living trust. In this article, we will go over five of these steps.
1. Deed and Record Real Property
For a living trust to be a successful estate planning document, it needs to be properly funded. Part of the funding process is deeding real property into the name of the trust. If your estate planner prepared a deed as part of your package, you will still need to make sure that it is recorded with the appropriate County Recorder’s Office. If your deed is not recorded, the property will not be considered a trust asset and could be subject to probate.
2. Retitle Financial Assets
Real property is not the only type of property that needs to be retitled. You will also need to retitle financial assets. This would include things such as checking and savings accounts and a non-qualified investment account. You will need to reach out to your financial institution and go through their process for retitling those assets. At Wealth Guardian Legal Documents, we send out transfer letters on behalf of our clients. These letters get the process rolling for you and help minimize the amount of effort you need to put in.
3. Decide What You Want to Do with Your Vehicles
In the state of Arizona, you have two options with regard to the distribution of your vehicles. Your first option is to visit the MVD and retitle the vehicle in the name of your trust. However, you are only able to do this if you do not have a lien on the vehicle. If you have a lien on your vehicle, or you just want to avoid a trip to the MVD, there is another option. Your second option is a beneficiary form. It is a simple, one-page form you can print off azdot.gov. You can choose to name your trust as the beneficiary or directly name it to another person.
4. Update Beneficiary Designations
Generally speaking, life insurance policies and qualified retirement accounts will not be titled in the name of your trust. These accounts distribute through beneficiary designations. Completing your trust may be a good time to check your designations and update them as necessary. You may also want to name your trust as the contingent, or secondary, beneficiary.
5. Share Your Health Care and Financial Powers of Attorney
If financial and health care powers of attorney were part of your living trust package, you will want to make sure they are easily accessible. This would include sharing copies of these documents with your agents. By doing this they have quick access to the documents they need in case of an emergency. In addition, if you live in Arizona you should consider filing your Healthcare documents with the Arizona Healthcare Registry administered through the Arizona Secretary of State. This will allow hospitals here in Arizona ready access to these documents should you show up to a hospital and need these documents.
Do not let your initiative for creating a trust go to waste. Make sure you follow these five steps to take after creating a living trust. Doing so will help your estate plan to be successful and airtight.
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