How To Transfer Assets To A Trust

Was working with a gentleman from Metairie, Louisiana. He was getting to a point in his life when he wanted to get all of his estate legal affairs in order.

He was interested in arranging an estate legal program so that his home and investments would be protected from the nursing home spend-down, and he wanted to make things easy when he passed on by enabling his children and grandchildren to avoid probate.

One of the questions he asked was, "Mr. Rabalais, how do you transfer a home, an investment account, and life insurance policies to a trust?"

I said, "Well, each asset is different." I told him that we would prepare all of the necessary paperwork to transfer his piece of real estate to his trust, and that once he signed the paperwork, we would record the transfer in the real estate records of the parish.

I then told him that once his trust is signed, he can go to his brokerage firm and request that his account title be transferred from "Joe Smith," to "Joe Smith as Trustee of the Joe Smith Trust."
He said that seemed simple enough.

He also currently owns two life insurance policies that have cash value. He did not want to be required to surrender the life insurance policies when he enters a nursing home. He correctly heard that if he went into a nursing home, he would be forced to surrender his life insurance polices and spend that cash value, rendering his life insurance policies worthless and without a death benefit.

I told him that once his trust is signed, he can contact his agent and request that ownership of the policies be transferred from his name to his trust. Easy enough.

Different classes of assets get transferred to trusts in different ways. But it's easier than most people think!

Paul Rabalais