What Assets to Include in a Living Trust
A living trust is one of your best options for protecting your estate and the inheritance of your loved ones. A living trust has many benefits, from ensuring that your final wishes are adhered to and bypassing probate along with the ability to amend and adjust the terms of your trust as changes in your family’s lives occur. At The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys, our team of dedicated professionals is prepared to sit down with you and review your estate assets to determine what you should include in a living trust. For more information about living trusts or planning for your estate, call or contact our office today for a free consultation.
What Assets to Include
There are certain types of assets that should and should not be included in a living trust. Some of the assets in your estate that can be included in a living trust include the following:
Any financial instrument that involves cash can be included in a living trust. Some of the most common examples of cash accounts include savings accounts, checking accounts, CDs, and money market accounts. These accounts can have a payable on death beneficiary or be distributed according to the terms of the living trust.
Certain Investment and Brokerage Accounts
Investment accounts that can be included in a living trust include all non-retirement investment accounts. These include any investment accounts that you manage on your own through such companies like Fidelity or investment and brokerage accounts that are managed by a financial professional. Similar to cash accounts, the value of these accounts can be paid out or transferred to a beneficiary in your living trust.
Tangible Personal Property
Items of personal property that you would like specific members of your family to receive after your death should be included in a living trust. A living trust allows you to identify each item or collection and specifically dictate who should receive it after your passing. Personal property encompasses a wide range of items, from personal effects and household items to antiques, motor vehicles, pets, photos, and many other things in your possession.
If you are the owner or shareholder in a company, your business interests can be assigned to a beneficiary in a living trust. All types of business interests can be transferred through a living trust, including stock, partnership interests, and membership interests. You should however first review the business agreements for that company to ensure that the procedures regarding the transfer of business interests are followed when bequeathing them in a living trust.
Life Insurance Policies
The proceeds of a life insurance policy can also be transferred through a living trust. When doing so, you name the living trust as your beneficiary instead of a specific person. This provides you with additional protections in the situation where you become mentally incapacitated and need another person to deal with the policy. The trustee of your living trust will have the authority to manage the policy, including borrowing against the value to cover the costs of your care.
Intellectual Property Rights
If you hold the rights to a trademark, copyright, patent, or other intellectual property rights you have the ability to pass those rights to a beneficiary in your living trust. Intellectual property rights can provide a source of additional income through royalties, licenses, and other agreements for your heirs that can be beneficial for years to come. An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to help you structure this aspect of your living trust so that your beneficiaries can inherit your intellectual property rights.
Natural Resource Rights
You can also designate your natural resource rights to a beneficiary in a living trust. These include oil, gas, mineral, and air rights. This may also require an assignment or new deed as part of the inheritance, so be sure to talk to your estate planning attorney if you intend to pass along your natural resource rights to your heirs.
Finally, you can pass along real estate to your beneficiaries through a living trust. By designating a beneficiary to real estate, you can avoid many problems that arise with the probate process. As real estate is often one of the highest value items in an estate, assigning a beneficiary in a living trust avoids the questions of who gets it or how to deal with it after your passing.