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Once you create and sign a California trust, the next step will be to transfer your assets into – or “fund” – the trust.  A trust that has not been funded is an empty shell, and will not protect your assets unless those assets are placed in the trust.

Here are the procedures for properly funding your trust:

Real estate – a new deed must be drawn in the name of the trust and recorded at the county clerk’s office.

Stocks, bonds, mutual funds – you must complete the required paperwork from your broker, investment counselor or transfer agent for transferring the ownership of these assets to your trust.

Savings bonds – the Federal Reserve Bank can provide you with a reissue form.

Brokerage accounts – you will need to fill out a trust account application and an account transfer request that allows your broker to close your existing account and transfer all your securities into a new trust account.

Stock certificates – you will need to complete and mail a “stock power” form as well as a W-9 form with your tax ID number with the original stock certificates to the company’s transfer agent.

Bank accounts, CDs – you will need to establish new accounts in the name of the trust.  If your bank cannot transfer CDs until the maturity date, then mark it “in trust for” a beneficiary until the CD matures and you can transfer it to the trust.

The Flanigan Law Group is an Irvine estate planning, administration and litigation legal services law firm.  To learn more about protecting your assets, contact the Orange County Probate team at Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0041.