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Trusts and funding

Wisconsin residents who are concerned about how their estate will be managed after their death should be aware that a trust can be a critical part of an estate plan. Trusts can be used to hold and manage various types of assets.

Individuals can use trusts to ensure that their real estate is handled in a specific way. An attorney who has experience with handling trusts will be able to draft a deed or deed in trust that will transfer the real estate title from the individual to the trust. When the documents are recorded with the appropriate local authorities, the real estate is considered owned by the trust.

Individuals can also transfer their personal property to a trust. This includes items such clothing, appliances, collectibles and furniture. There are various documents attorneys may use to transfer the ownership of the property, including a bill of sale or an assignment. However, assignments should be used only for items that have no title. For example, assignments should not be used to transfer vehicles, stocks or other assets that have documentation verifying ownership.

Trusts can also be used to hold bank accounts. To have a bank account transferred, the owner of the account should bring an affidavit of trust or certificate of trust to the bank and request that the accounts be transferred to the trust. The bank will provide new signature cards, and the trustee will have to sign them.

An attorney may advise clients about what types of trusts should be used in their estate plans to achieve their financial goals and ensure that their assets are handled according to their wishes. The attorney may assist with executing the processes necessary for proper funding.

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