Transferring Property into Your Trust

After you sign your living trust document, you have a valid living trust. But the trust is of absolutely no use to you until the property you listed in the trust document is actually transferred into your name as trustee (or, in Colorado, to the name of the trust itself). Lawyers call this "funding" the trust.

Funding your living trust is crucial. It takes some time and paperwork, but it's not difficult. You should be able to do it yourself, without a lawyer.

Don't Put This Off

Failing to transfer property to the trustee's name is the most common and serious mistake people make when creating a living trust. If you don't get around to preparing and signing the transfer documents, the trust document will have no effect on what happens to your property after your death. Instead, the property will pass through your will, if you have one. If you don't have a will, the property will go to certain close relatives, according to state law. Either way, your probate- and tax-avoidance goals will not be met.

Titled Property

For property with a title – for example: real estate, cars, and securities—you must change the name of the title – from your name, to the name of the trust. The trust becomes the new owner.

Read details about Transferring Titled Property to the Trust.

Untitled Property

If an item doesn't have an official title document, you can hold it in trust very easily, with a document called an Assignment of Property. WillMaker automatically assembles this document and print it with the trust document.

The Assignment of Property lists every item of trust property that you've indicated doesn't have a title document, plus ones you weren't sure about. It simply says that you're transferring all those items to you as the trustee of your trust. All you need to do is sign it and keep it with your trust document.

Examples of Items Without Title Documents:

  • Appliances
  • Dishes
  • Artwork
  • Furniture
  • Books
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing
  • Stereos
  • Computers
  • Tools

Remember that the Assignment of Property works only for items that do not have their own specific title documents. If an item has a title document -- for example, the deed to a house or the title slip to a car -- you'll need to create a new one.