Broad experience. Regional focus.

Belleville 618.234.9800
Edwardsville 618.656.2244

I Have Signed a Trust. Now What?

by Patrick B. Mathis, Shareholder & Amy Randazzo, Law Clerk at Mathis, Marifian and Richter, Ltd. & Student at St. Louis University

Having a living trust drafted as part of your estate planning can seem challenging enough, but once it is signed, there's still more to do.  A trust is only as effective as the assets that are placed in it. Funding the trust with most, if not all, of your assets allows the trust to be properly administered at your death and avoids the necessity of probate proceedings.  Unfortunately those assets don't just automatically go into your trust upon execution.

Every person will have different assets that need to be re-titled in the name of the trust.  For example, stocks, bonds, CD's and bank accounts should be retitled to the trust.  This usually involves obtaining forms from various companies to request they be retitled. You may wish to contact the companies yourself, but as this can prove time consuming and frustrating, many clients choose to have their attorney's office obtain and complete the necessary forms.  The office can then complete the required information and simply have you sign where necessary and mail them back.

In addition to the above, any real estate, such as a residence or farm property, should be retitled through the execution of deeds.  Your attorney can draft new deeds for signature and recording.  In some instances, such as when real estate other than a residence is encumbered by a mortgage or deed of trust, it will be necessary to contact the financial institution holding the mortgage or deed of trust to obtain permission to retitle the real estate.  Obtaining approval is often not a problem, but again may be something you would rather have your attorney handle.

To ensure you have properly funded your trust so your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets can be carried out efficiently, it is always best to discuss your assets with your attorney, so he or she may help you decide what needs to be placed in the trust and implement the necessary changes.

With 30 years of experience, Patrick B. Mathis has an extensive background in providing superior legal counsel to clients in the St. Louis Metro East area of Southern Illinois related to estate planning, trusts and wills, probate, business mergers, sales and acquisitions and shareholder litigation.

Professional Services Disclaimer: Please note that the information presented here is as an educational service, and while it contains information about legal issues, it is not legal advice. No warranty is made regarding the applicability of the information presented to a particular client situation, and the information set forth is not a substitute for original legal research, analysis and drafting for a particular client situation.

facebook icontwitter iconlinked in icon