After the Revocable Living Trust is Signed… Now What?

You’ve gone through the trouble of creating an estate plan that includes a revocable living trust. Now what do you need to do?

Here is a checklist for you to consider:

1. Have you notified your successor trustee? You have probably named a relative, close friend, or a trust company to act as successor trustee after you die. Have you told tem about the trust? Maybe you want to go over it with them. Share your thoughts and wishes. Tell them where your valuable papers and itms are located.

2. Have you transferred title to your assets to the trust? A trust comes into being (becomes legal) when you transfer an asset (probably more than one) to it. You will need to transfer title to your bank and brokerage accounts, real estate, promissory notes held, individual stock certificates, etc., to the trust title, usually, John Smith and Jane Smith, trustees of the Smith Revocable Trust, dated January 1, 2005 (or something similar).

3. What about your thoughts on burial or cremation? Do you want to be kept on life support no mater what your age, condition, or likelihood of survival might be? Have you decided who will be in charge of making decisions for you if you can’t?

4. Are there assets that are not in your trust (retirement plans, IRA accounts, life insurance) that your trustee needs to know about?

5. Is there a change in your life or family that requires a review or revision to your estate plan? Have you recently received an inheritance, remarried, or have a close one die? All of these events should prompt a review of your estate plan and revocable living trust documents.

This is a short list to get you thinking in the right direction. The point is that once the revocable living trust is set up, your work and attention does not stop. You need to maintain the revocable living trust so that it can deliver all of the benefits that it can promise.