Trusts are a great way to pass on assets without the wealth transfers becoming public record. They may also help you save on taxes and speed up or avoid probate. The average probate in Washington takes six to 12 months. Complex estates or those with assets in more than one state may take longer to complete. There are many types of assets you could put into a trust to help keep them private and prevent a long probate.
You could speed up probate by putting your real estate into a trust. This is especially helpful if you have real estate in more than one state. If you were to leave behind your real estate in a will, then the executor will have to go through probate in each state, which makes the process more complex and time-consuming.
You can put just about any type of financial account into a trust, including checking, savings, money market, certificates of deposit (CDs), annuities and non-retirement brokerage and mutual fund accounts. You could even put safe deposit boxes into a trust. Adding a financial account to a trust may require filling out paperwork and signing authorization to transfer or retitle the asset. Before depositing a checking or savings account into a trust, you should check that it has no restrictions on how often it needs activity.
Depositing a life insurance policy into a trust could let your beneficiaries receive the money faster after your death. It’s also a way of avoiding life insurance going through probate.
Stocks and bonds
Stocks and bonds are common assets that people put into trusts. You’ll need to complete a change of ownership to deposit a stock or bond into the trust.
Although there are many assets you could put into a trust, you should still carefully consider your estate plan to divide your assets in the most cost-effective way possible. You must also read the terms of the trust to know what any restrictions are on what you can deposit.