One of the most important aspects of good estate planning is making sure that we have the information we need about your assets. Some estate planners in Arkansas are content simply to create a trust and leave it up to you to put your assets into it. (Otherwise known as “funding” your trust.)
Estate Planning 101: You Must Fund Your Trust
But a trust is no good if you don’t put anything in it. As a service to our estate planning clients, we will assist with the initial funding of your trust. For most of our estate planning clients, their most significant asset is their home. For that reason, it’s crucial that we have all the information about your home so that we can make sure it makes it into your trust.
The Home Deed
The most helpful document a client can provide us about their home is the deed. When our Firm does estate planning for our clients, I’m often asked whether we need a copy of a current deed to work from. The answer is, “Yes!” If we are drafting a new trust for you and you will be granting your property to that trust (or to another person or entity, for that matter), we always prefer to have a copy of your current deed.
Your current deed is filed with your county’s Circuit Clerk and provides a lot of valuable information. It tells us exactly who that property was granted TO (the Grantee). That helps us define who we should grant that property FROM. It also gives us a full, complete legal description, whereas your property tax statement may only provide an abbreviated version of the legal description to help identify the property. The deed is the guiding document.
Here are different types of deeds if you want to read more:
- Information about a life estate deed
- Information about a beneficiary deed
- Information about a joint tenancy deed
One Last Thing
It is also important to remember to provide subsequent deeds showing any parts of that land that was sold off. For example, if your original deed in 1977 showed you owned 20 acres, but you sold off 5 acres in 1990, we need to see both deeds so we may properly grant the original property and fund the trust.
If you have questions about revocable living trusts and why they are a helpful tool to protect your assets, please don’t hesitate to contact us.