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create the LLCs until you have the trust to own them, and it’s important to do these steps in order.
Like I said last month, estate planning isn’t as complex as it’s often made out to be. Most of the work on the front-end is up to the attorney, including getting all the documents in order according to your wishes. Yes, you’ll need to do some decision-making and information gathering in the last step of funding the trust — you have to get account numbers, and you may want to have your financial advisor or bank involved. You have to decide which assets you’re going to make the trust the beneficiary of, and which assets you’ll put beneficiaries on instead of listing in the trust. Even after you’ve created your plan, you’ll need to make these decisions. As always, it will depend on your situation — owning one car and a house will be simpler than if you own multiple properties and businesses. Maybe the decision-making involved in this step feels a little overwhelming, and that’s what causes people to drop off at this point in the process. The more complex your life is, the more it’ll take to complete the funding process. Of course, that also means if you don’t do it, there’s much more at stake. At our firm, we make it as easy as we can on our clients. We walk you step by step through the funding process. Some firms might give you comprehensive written instructions and have you do it yourself, others will merely mention the importance of funding but fail to give you any guidance. When you’re creating your estate plan, I urge you to ask your attorney if this is a step they will help you with. Ask if it’s included in their fee before you even start the process. Choose an attorney who will oversee the funding process with you — it’s something you will be so grateful for later. If you have any questions when it comes to estate planning or are not sure if you’ve completed the funding process, reach out to me. I want people to have all the information they need when estate planning so they don’t miss out on crucial steps that leave their assets vulnerable. – Scott Reib
THE NO. 1 QUESTION TO ASK YOUR ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY DON’T MISS THIS CRUCIAL STEP
So often, I see attorneys create beautiful estate plans, only to leave the crucial next step unfinished: funding the irrevocable living trust. Maybe the attorney tried to follow up with the client, but they just never came back to finish this step. Somehow, it often gets missed, and it’s a really important piece of the puzzle. In fact, you haven’t really finished the puzzle if you haven’t completed this step. Even a well-drafted trust will be useless if your assets aren't titled in the name of the trust while you're still alive. Just the other day I was helping a client, and as they were about to finish signing documents to shatterproof their business, they asked, “So when do we set up the LLCs?” “As soon as we create the trust,” I told them. You can’t
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