Do you have a revocable living trust as part of your estate planning? A solid estate plan can mean the difference between an expensive time in court or a smooth transfer of property for your family. When a high-profile celebrity passes away, we can learn a lot about the value of careful planning. Let’s take a look at what trust funding is and why it’s important.
In our opinion, Carrie Fisher’s plan failed, because it didn’t keep her assets out of court and they didn’t pass privately to her daughter. While Carrie Fisher had a revocable living trust, she didn’t transfer all of her assets to her trust. That is why her Trustee had to file a petition in probate court seeking to have her assets transferred into her trust.
This actually happens a lot! We see clients all the time who come in with trusts from other lawyers. Unfortunately, many of those documents won’t work the way they were designed to. That’s because nobody took the time to inventory the assets or transfer them to the trust.
“Funding” is the the legal term for making sure you transfer your assets to your trust.
Because Fisher’s Trust was unfunded, all of her assets and who will receive them became public. As a result, we know that Fisher left her estate to her daughter. The estate included cash accounts, several LLCs, real estate, a life insurance policy, personal belongings, and intellectual property rights. Because this information is now public, that leaves Fisher’s daughter at risk. Unscrupulous parties now have access to details they wouldn’t otherwise know.
This is exactly why a key part of our trust planning process is a thorough inventory of your assets. If you choose an estate plan that involves a revocable living trust, we guide you through the trust funding process. And we offer a review of your assets and planning documents at least every three years, if not annually.
Proper estate planning can keep your family out of court and save your family precious time and money. Call us to create a comprehensive estate plan or to review your existing plan.
We don’t just draft documents, we help folks make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for themselves and their loved ones. To schedule a Planning Session, call us at (813) 686-7175.
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