When explaining the difference between a will and a living trust to our clients, we sometimes use the metaphor of a collecting treasure (your house, accounts, etc.) into a treasure chest (the trust that holds your treasure).
Although we talk our clients through this concept, admittedly it can feel like they have a lot of information coming at them as they are building their plan. As a result, last year, we started doing quarterly Trust Funding Workshops to help emphasize the importance of getting our clients’ treasure into the treasure chest.
Some of our clients prefer to have us take the lead on funding their trust for them (which we are happy to do at an additional cost). Even those clients however can benefit from attending the funding workshop – because it helps them understand when to alert us about a significant transaction or purchase and ask for our help.
“Kaiser Law Group has been a wonderful referral source for my clients. Curtis and his team do a tremendous job walking our clients through the difficult decisions involving estate planning. I personally utilized their services and have referred family members. Their process is very thorough but manage to make it easy and not intimidating. They provide help and education along the way by being available for questions and through their workshops. I recently attended the funding workshop. It was extremely informative and assisted me with my questions regarding to funding. Funding is the last step to compete the estate plan process. I have attended several KLG workshops and have found they are conducted in a relaxed setting and extremely informative. These learning sessions are provided so their clients are able bring up questions, which help all the attendees in the room. Client leave the workshop with questions answered and not feeling alone during this important process. We can’t thank KLG enough on a personal and professional level.” ~Kathleen P. Urquidez, CPA, Bezich, Urquidez & Salazar, Certified Public Accountants, Inc.
Typically, our firm handles getting the real estate treasure into the treasure chest and our clients take care of getting their brokerage and other significant accounts “funded” into the trust/treasure chest.
For a will, you would be declaring that all your treasure is to be given to the people listed on your will. For that to happen, a court needs to have all of your treasure gathered, confirm that it’s really yours, confirm that no one else has a claim on your treasure, and then finally allow it to be given out. That process is slow, awkward and expensive – so most of our clients would prefer to avoid it.
With a living trust, we’re creating a map to help locate the treasure AND instructions for its distribution. The process of putting the treasure into the treasure chest is known as “funding” or “retitling” assets to the trust. Although we put instructions for funding into our clients’ estate planning binders and discuss it with them during the planning process, many of our clients need a little more time and explanation to fully understand the importance and the logistics of funding.
“I want to personally thank you for the great work you did on our estate plan. I found the Kaiser Law Group Funding workshop to be particularly informative and eye opening. You are a great speaker, very personable, and your staff was very welcoming and helpful. I would highly recommend that anyone with a trust, or thinking of creating an estate plan, attend this workshop. Great job! !” ~Graham Hoad, Sales Tax Resource Group
Typical questions and issues we discuss at a funding workshop:
- How do you fund an asset into a trust?
- What happens if I don’t fund an asset into a trust?
- Why are retirement accounts and other assets treated differently?
- What is involved to fund real estate into a trust?
- Why do you recommend that we keep one small account outside of the trust?