The Revocable Living Trust is dynamite! Most folks benefit from having a trust and they seem to work magic, avoiding probate, providing disability planning, keeping you in control, and providing asset protection for your beneficiaries’ inheritances. However, no good trust acts alone. There are supporting documents that work in conjunction with and help the trust do its work. For example:
Bill of Sale
The bill of sale is a legal document used to transfer your tangible personal property into your trust. Your trust only avoids probate when it’s fully funded so the bill of sale is essential.
Asset Transfer Documentation
Legal documentation showing that each asset has been transferred into the name of your trust. Again, your trust only avoids probate when it’s fully funded.
Certificate of Trust/Affidavit of Trust
A sworn statement about the provisions of your trust. The certificate or affidavit of trust is required by banks, investment companies, and other institutions during the funding process.
While the distribution provisions are not included, the institutions want to see the name of your trust, its revocability, the trustees and successor trustees, trustee powers, and the signature pages.
Pour Over Will
The pour over will appoints guardians for minor children and an executor. It also distributes any assets not in the name of the trust to the trust. In other words, any probate assets are “poured” into the trust.
Power of Attorney for Finances
Document appointing the same person as agent under the power of attorney as is named as trustee of the trust. The agent is authorized to manage any assets not yet in the name of the trust.
Health Care Documents
Although the trust authorizes asset management in the event of disability, it does not authorize medical decision making.
A Power of attorney for medical decisions, living will, HIPAA release, and organ donation form are important estate planning documents.
If you have any questions about the legal documents that stand behind every good trust, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.