Living trusts can be effective as estate planning instruments and as property management or tax reduction tools. In order to have value, though, a Georgia living trust must be funded with assets. It can be somewhat complicated to transfer assets into a living trust. Generally speaking, there are two ways to do it: via a title transfer during life or via a pour-over will after death.
Some types of assets do not have titles. These include clothing, jewelry, furniture and other personal property. Intellectual property and company ownership interests are also unlikely to have titles. To transfer these types of assets into a living trust, the person must transfer his or her property rights to the trustee. For assets that have titles, like motor vehicles, real estate and investment accounts, the trust maker will have to change the ownership name to the name of the trustee. Assets that have named beneficiaries, like life insurance policies, will have to be changed to list the trustee as the beneficiary.
Creating a pour-over will can help the trust maker avoid most of the hassle of transferring assets into a living trust. This type of will automatically contributes all assets that are not specifically otherwise bequeathed into the trust when the person dies. The negatives to this strategy are that the person’s family will still have to deal with probate, which may be avoided by funding the trust during life.
People in Georgia who have questions about creating or modifying their estate plans might want to speak with a lawyer who has experience practicing estate planning law. The lawyer may help by examining the client’s finances and designing an estate plan that meets his or her needs and goals. A lawyer may also draft a will or trust in order to effect the expedient transfer of assets upon death.