How to Fund Your Trust: A Comprehensive Guide

In this article, we’ll delve into the crucial process of funding your trust, a vital step in ensuring your assets are properly protected and distributed as you intend. A trust can provide numerous benefits, from asset protection to estate planning, but its effectiveness depends on the proper funding of the trust. We’ll guide you through the steps necessary to fund your trust for peace of mind.

Changing Ownership and Trust Funding

When you transfer assets into a trust, you are essentially changing the legal ownership of those assets. Typically, you’ll move the assets from your name to that of the trust. Most people who establish a living trust name themselves as trustees, allowing them to retain control over trust assets. However, the trust trustee technically owns these assets.

Creating a Comprehensive Asset List

To begin funding your trust, it’s crucial to create a detailed list of the assets you intend to transfer. Ensuring nothing is left out is essential for the trust’s effectiveness.

Holding Title Properly

When transferring assets, it’s important to update the title of the assets properly on relevant documents. This step involves including both the name of the trust and the name of the trustee on the title. The order of naming doesn’t usually matter, but it’s often advisable to name the trust first for privacy reasons. Public records may not always display trustee names conveniently.

Here are examples of how to hold title:

  • The John and Mary Smith Revocable Living Trust, John and Mary Smith, Trustees
  • Fred and Sally Williams, Trustees of the Fred and Sally Williams Revocable Living Trust

In some cases, setting up a land trust with a Wyoming LLC as the trustee can enhance privacy and protection.

Transferring Real Estate to a Trust

Your home, often one of your most valuable assets, should ideally be transferred into your living trust. This process typically involves using a deed, which officially transfers ownership to the trust. Two common deed types are quick claim deeds and warranty deeds, each with its advantages and considerations. Consult with an attorney to determine the best option for your situation, as some states may have specific requirements.

It’s important to note that transferring real estate to a trust should not affect your mortgage, thanks to the Garn St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982.

Transferring Bank Accounts to a Trust

To transfer assets like bank accounts or stocks into your trust, you’ll need to contact the respective financial institution and complete the required forms. Providing a certificate of the trust may also be necessary. The process is generally straightforward, and once initiated, the institution handles the transfer.

Transferring Vehicles into a Trust

Transferring vehicles into a trust varies by state, but you typically need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Ensure your insurance coverage remains intact after the transfer. Some individuals set up title-holding trusts for vehicles, often using a Wyoming LLC as the trustee for added privacy and protection.

Transferring Personal Property to a Trust

Many assets lack official titles or ownership documents, such as jewelry, furniture, and collectibles. You can include these items in your trust by listing them on a property schedule attached to the trust document. If these items are insured, remember to update the insurance policy to reflect the trust as the owner.

Assets That Cannot Be Placed Into a Trust

Certain assets, like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), cannot be owned by a trust. However, you can name the trust as a beneficiary of your IRA. Additionally, consult with an accountant regarding any tax implications of naming trusts as beneficiaries of life insurance policies.

Consider a Pour-Over Will

A pour-over will complements your trust by ensuring that any assets left in your name are transferred to the trust upon your passing. This finalizes your trust’s effectiveness and ensures your wishes are carried out.


Funding your trust is a critical step in harnessing its advantages, whether for asset protection, privacy, or estate planning. Properly transferring assets into your trust ensures your peace of mind and the security of your loved ones. Remember that this article provides information, not legal advice. Consult with professionals to ensure your trust is adequately funded and aligned with your unique circumstances. Like, subscribe, and share this video for more valuable insights.