Is there any short cut to funding a living trust?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 17, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Is there any short cut to funding a living trust? For example, can you include in the trust document a schedule listing each asset (other than real estate property) specifically identified - i.e., asset name, title, account number, etc. and signed by the grantors of the living trust? Otherwise it's a monumental task that takes much too much time and effort, so long that the grantors might die before it's completed.


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Yes, as your hunch told you, there are many shortcuts to describing the property you place in a living trust that will allow you to avoid what you fear: using up your lifetime describing every minute detail of every bit of property you own.

All property puts in a trust gets listed on a schedule that attaches to the trust document explaining who gets it and when. But just how much shorthand you can use depends on what kind of property you want to put in the trust and what beneficiaries you ultimately want to take it.

For example, if you're leaving all personal items to one individual, you can simply use a catch-all phrase such as "all personal property previously owned by the grantor."

A house and household items could similarly be clumped as "the house and real estate at [Insert the address] and all household furnishings in it."

Business assets can simply be transferred as "all assets of the grantor doing business as [Insert name and address of business].

Bank and money market accounts and securities should be identified by account numbers, but there is no need to get specific about the contents.

The key is to describe the trust property clearly enough so that survivors will be able to identify it and transfer it to the right person, but no specific legal wording is required.

You can get all the specific guidance you need to create a living trust from a good self-help product. For example, Nolo at www.nolo.com offers several formats"”including online, software, and books.