One of the questions I get all the time is, should I put _________ (name an asset) into my trust? The answer, of course, is that it depends on the asset, but generally speaking, everything you own should be transferred to the trust. Which leads to the follow-up question: do I lose control of my assets when I put them into my trust?
Why Put Your Assets Into A Trust
If your goal is to avoid probate and you’ve created a trust to accomplish that goal, you need to understand one thing. Assets owned by the trust avoid probate. Assets not owned by the trust are exposed to probate.
Now that you understand the importance of your trust owning your assets, who controls your assets?
Who Is In Charge of My Trust?
When you create your trust, naturally you put yourself in charge of your trust. And you also chose who will be in charge after you, and maybe even who will be in charge after that person. The person in charge of the trust and the assets inside the trust is called the Trustee. When you created the trust, you made the decision about who the successor trustee will be and when they step into your shoes as trustee. Though who the trustee is will change as time goes by, you made the decisions when you created the trust.
Who Gets to Benefit From My Trust?
While you’re alive, you’re the beneficiary of your trust, and after your gone, your surviving spouse is typically the sole beneficiary of the trust. After you and your spouse are gone, then you get to spell out in your trust exactly who gets your estate, when they get it, and under what circumstances.
It’s Your Trust
As the creators of the trust, you are completely in charge of what goes into, and what comes out of your trust. And because it’s a revocable trust, you can completely change the trust itself, including getting rid of it completely should you so choose. It’s all up to you.
A trust gives you the ability to spell out exactly who gets what and when. Now that is total control over your assets!