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Unfunded trusts in estate planning

Most people who have a trust are made aware that it needs to be funded in order for it to work as it should. In fact, most estate planning attorneys stress the importance of funding the trust several times throughout the process of setting it up. There are still some people, however, who -- for whatever reason -- forget to fund the trust once the trust document is in place. What can someone in Florida or another jurisdiction do with an unfunded trust?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not a simple one. If the assets are not included in the trust, the trustee will have to review every one of them to find out how they are owned and who will get them. One cannot know where the asset should go until ownership has been established.

If an asset is owned by more than one person, for instance, it typically goes to the surviving owners. If the asset is to be passed down to a beneficiary, then that is who owns it. Assets who have no designated owner other than the deceased will go to probate. If there isn't a will, then the courts will decide. If there is no pour over will, it is unlikely that the trust will even be used.

Failing to fund a trust is a classic estate planning mistake. Those considering the creation of a trust in Florida can contact an estate planning lawyer who can help to make sure that every step of the process is followed properly. By consulting with one of these attorneys, an individual can be confident about providing for loved ones, even after her or she is gone.

Source: nwitimes.com, "Estate planning: Unfunded trusts", Christopher Yugo, May 7, 2017

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