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Funding a trust helps it to reach full potential

Establishing a trust can be a major step in the development of a comprehensive Ohio estate plan. Once the trust is established, though, it must be funded. It can be thought of like a box that has been created to hold something; until it is actually holding assets, the box does not fill its potential. Funding the trust is like putting something into the box.

If the trust is going to hold real estate, an attorney might create a deed to transfer the title to the property from the owner to the trust. Typically, the transaction will be something like John Doe transfers ownership to John Doe as Trustee of the John Doe Revocable Trust. Once the transfer is properly recorded, the trust holds the real estate. Once title to the property has been transferred to the trust, it's important should check with the relevant auditor's office to see if real estate tax exemptions must be refiled.

People who plan to have the trust take possession of appliances, furniture, collectibles, clothing or other personal property may be able to use a bill of sale or an assignment. Assignments should be used only for items that don't have a title; they should not be used for the transfer of stocks, vehicles or other assets that have documentation to demonstrate ownership.

To transfer possession of a bank account, the bank should be provided with an affidavit of trust or certificate of trust and instructed to transfer the account into the trust. A new signature card will have to be signed, this time as the trustee rather than the account holder. An attorney with experience in estate planning might be able to help organize and transfer assets to make things easier on heirs and beneficiaries.

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