One of the most common reasons people set up a Living Trust is to avoid probate. You can have the most well planned and well written Living Trust but unless you have transferred your assets to your Living Trust correctly, then your assets will have to go through probate.
It is common practice in Arkansas and throughout the United States for an attorney to prepare the trust but they don’t prepare the paperwork to transfer anything into the trust. They either don’t tell you that it needs to be done because the attorney themselves don’t know or they inform you that you need to do it. Some attorneys will prepare your deeds but nothing else.
When someone comes to me and tells me they already have a Living Trust, I’m going to ask the following questions:
Do you remember signing deeds transferring your real estate to your trust? Does your real estate property tax bill show the land in the name of your trust?
Do your bank statements show that your accounts are in the Trust?
Do your stocks, bonds, and CD’s show they are owned by the trust?
Was the beneficiary on your life insurance, IRA, 401k, 403b, annuity, etc. change so that they flow into the trust correctly?
Do all your investment account statements show that they are in the trust?
If you own a corporation, LLC, partnership, etc., was the stock transferred into your trust?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, then that asset is not properly transferred and may have to go through probate.
Transferring all the assets into the Living Trust is one of the most important aspects of setting up a Living Trust. We are one of the only law firms in Arkansas that I’m aware of that takes responsibility for preparing the paperwork to transfer all the assets into the trust. We make sure the deeds get filed at the court house properly, that the instructions letters get mailed, that the change of ownership and change of beneficiary forms get filled out correctly and mailed to the correct place. We also have a follow-up procedure where we continue to work with our clients to make sure all the different financial institutions did what they were supposed to do.
Estate Planners of Arkansas, P.A. has prepared over 4,000 Estate Plans. Call 1-501-414-8965 for your FREE initial consultation today.