Living Trust Estate Planning
A trust is like a Will, but better. A trust transfers real property and other assets on death without probate court supervision, saving money, time and publicity. The vast majority of trusts are created to avoid probate and to provide for the orderly transfer of assets at a minimum cost and effort.
An unfunded trust is exactly like a Will and does not avoid probate. Trusts must be funded as follows.
Funding real property is by deed from the owner to the owner as trustee of his or her trust. There is no transfer tax, property tax increase or transfer tax on trust transfers. On death of the owner, the successor trustee transfers real property by deed to heirs of the decedent.
Contracts with designated beneficiary are retirement plans and life insurance policies. For retirement accounts the primary designated beneficiary should be the non-owning spouse and the alternate the trust. For life insurance policies the primary designated beneficiary should be the trust.