A Living Trust Checklist

by M-Gillies

There are twelve key points to remember while estate planning.

1. Will it be a shared trust or an individual trust: If most of the property you own is shared between you and a spouse, a shared trust is best means to go as the successor will be transferred over to the spouse.

2. What items to leave in the trust: To avoid having to go through probate, it’s best, when deciding which items to leave in the trust that they are the big-ticket items, such as vehicles, owned-property, stocks, bonds and investments.

3. Who will inherit the trust property: Beneficiaries of the trust can be family members, friends or charities.

4. Choose a successor trustee: Once a successor trustee is chosen, whether it be a spouse, alternative family member, friend or older child, it is important to discuss it with the chosen person so they can decide whether or not they are willing to take on the responsibility of being a successor trustee.

5. Choose someone to manage children’s property: If the inheritance is to be given to children or young adults, it is important to assign authority to a person who can govern the property (property guardian).

6. Prepare the trust and sign it in front of a notary: To officiate a living trust, it must be signed in front of a notary who can then record it as a legal binding document.

7. Transfer title of property to yourself as trustee: Considered a crucial step. In order to make the trust effective, you must hold title to trust property in your name as trustee.

8. Store your trust document safely: It is important that your successor trustee knows where the trust document is and how to access it.

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