Which Assets, Besides Real Estate, Belong in Your Louisiana "Avoid Probate" Revocable Living Trust?

Louisiana residents own many different types of assets. For people who are setting up an estate planning program and they want to make sure their family avoids probate, they need to work with an estate planning attorney to make sure that all the right assets get transferred to their trust. This process of re-titling assets into a trust is often referred to as "funding" the trust.

Besides real estate, the following are a few assets that are commonly transferred to the Louisiana "avoid probate" revocable living trust:

Limited LIability Company Membership Interests. Many people in Louisiana own all or part of an LLC. If they own their LLC in their name, then the ownership of this LLC membership interest cannot be transferred to anyone else when they die without the court-supervised Succession proceeding. But if you transfer your LLC membership interest to your trust during your lifetime, your Successor trustee, perhaps as early as the day after you die, can transfer your LLC membership interest from your trust to the appropriate principal beneficiary of your trust. 

Investments. Investment accounts (such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) that are in your name when you die must be frozen, and your family will have to wait on court orders and lawyers to gain access to those funds. Every day, people create living trusts and instruct their financial advisor or brokerage firm to re-title their account from their name to their trust. This can simplify the transfer of these accounts and these investments after you die to your trust beneficiaries. Note that investments in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) do not have to be re-titled. You can name a designated beneficiary of your IRA. IRAs avoid probate by their nature.

Mineral Interests. Many Louisiana residents own mineral interests. If these mineral interests are in your name when you die, they cannot be transferred out of your name without the appropriate Succession court orders. Many mineral interest owners transfer their rights to their trust to allow the easy continue payment of these interests to your trust or your trust beneficiaries after you pass away.

Bank Accounts. Some people transfer their bank accounts to their trust, and others don't. Some people rely on naming another person (perhaps an adult child) as having signature authority on the account. Others rely on Payable on Death (POD) designations to avoid probate. Check with your estate planning attorney and your bank or credit union to determine how you should title your bank accounts to that your survivors will not be required to go through probate when you die to gain access to your bank funds.