Using a living trust in Maryland has become increasingly popular as an estate planning tool due to its many benefits. However, for it to be effective, you need to make sure it’s funded by naming all of your assets correctly. Examine all of your real estate holdings, financials, life insurance policies and other retirement plans to ensure that each one has been transferred appropriately.
Real estate holdings
Owning real estate assets, like a rental property, vacation home or primary residence, requires you to confirm the assets are placed in your living trust. Typically, the estate planning firm you use will handle this transfer, but it is always a good idea to make sure these assets are in the name of your trust to avoid any problems.
Gathering your non-IRA investment and bank statements and confirming that each of these accounts has your living trust named as the owner is another step you should take. If the titling on your statements is still in your name, you’ll need to call the institution to have it changed to reference your trust.
Annuity and life insurance policies
Verifying the parties to any annuity or life insurance policies you possess is important. Listing the living trust as the primary or contingent beneficiary is usually best. However, if you currently have a living spouse, a better option may be to name them as the primary beneficiary and the trust as the contingent beneficiary.
IRAs and other retirement plans
Dealing with IRAs and retirement plans when a living trust is involved must be handled independently. You must determine if they should be listed as a primary or contingent beneficiary.
Taking the time to ensure that each of your assets has your living trust named as the owner is critical to avoid costly errors. Once the process is done, you should have peace of mind in knowing that your assets are protected.