Regardless of the kind of trusts you choose to incorporate into your estate plan, you should plan on creating a trust inventory. Every trust you create will involve taking some of your property and transferring it into the trust’s name. This process, called funding, can be simple or complicated depending on the type of property you wish to pass and the type of trust you have created.
To help you through this process, developing a trust inventory, also known as a schedule of assets, is a simple and practical step you can take. Your attorney will guide you through the process of identifying would-be trust property and transferring it into the trust name, but here’s what you need to know about trust inventories and how to use them.
Creating the Trust Inventory
A trust inventory is simply a list of property you own that you intend to transfer into the trust. Needless to say, your inventory depends on the kinds of property you currently have.
For some people it can be a good idea to start the trust creation process by first developing a schedule of assets or an inventory of all the property you have. This should include any real estate, financial holdings, as well as any valuable personal property.
Identifying Trust Property
Once you have created a comprehensive property list, you can then identify the specific property you wish to transfer into the trust. Depending on the sort of trust you choose to create, you might transfer some or all of your property into it. If you have more than one type of trust you will need to identify what property will be transferred into each.
Regardless of the types of trusts you create, you can use the trust inventory as a checklist to help you along the funding process. Every time you successfully transfer a piece of property into the trust’s name you can mark it off of your list or write down the date on which you completed the transfer.
The trust inventory can also help you identify what specific steps you will need to take to successfully transfer each piece of property. Some property, such as real estate, will require several specific steps. Other property, such as bank accounts, might require fewer steps.
Your trust inventory will be able to serve as a roadmap as you go about the funding process. Also, it can help you identify property that might involve potentially complicated transfers, such as joint real estate you own with one or more other joint owners.
Regardless of the specific type of property involved in the type of trust you create, creating a trust inventory will give you time to reflect on your assets and what you want your trust to accomplish. It might also be helpful to create such an inventory, or at least a cursory list, before you meet for the first time with your estate planning lawyer.