One of the most complex aspects of a Michigan wills and trust lawyer’s job is making sure that a trust is properly funded. While the attorney will be able to do much of the work on behalf of the client, there are a number of documents that are needed in order to transfer assets into the trust. Each of these documents serves to ensure that the asset has been accounted for and that ownership of it has been transferred from the client to the trust.
In order to smooth this complicated process, the wills and trusts lawyer supplies clients with a list of what needs to be collected. Not every item on the list will apply to each client, but by going through and gathering the documentation that is relevant, an individual can speed the process and make sure that their assets, as well as their businesses, heirs, and personal lifestyle are fully protected. Some of that information includes, but it not limited to:
- Any recorded deed for property owned by the individual
- Copies of title and/or homeowner’s insurance policies
- Copy of the most recent property tax bill for any real property owned by the individual
- Deeds of trust, mortgages, and promissory notes
- Vehicle registrations, including mobile homes
- Checking and savings accounts
- Money market accounts
- Credit union accounts
- Safe deposit boxes
- Investments, mutual funds, and dividend reinvestments
- Certificates of deposit
- Original savings bonds or treasury notes
- College tuition and savings programs
Specific Assets or Credits
- Original copies of publicly traded securities held as certificates
- Deeds of trust, promissory notes, mortgages, or other financing statement held by the individual
- Shareholder agreements
- Original stock certificates
- Trust agreements when the individual is a beneficiary
- Deeds/Contracts for burial plots
- Financials and contracts for annuities
- Pension plans, IRAs, 401(k), deferred compensation, etc.
- Closely held business or professional association – corporate books
- Partnership agreements for general or limited partnerships
- Operating agreement for LLCs
- List of assets for sole proprietorships owned by the individual
While gathering each of these documents can be a time-consuming process, it is an important part of working with the wills and trusts lawyer in Howell in laying the right foundation for your trust. Each of the items above may be used to fund the trust, and therefore a change of title, beneficiary designations, or other aspect may be in order. There are some pitfalls that can cause difficulties or delays, so getting a quick start will bring about a quicker end! Your Howell wills and trusts lawyer will have solid advice and suggestions on how best to track down this vital information.
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