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Michigan estate planning: Don't forget to fund a trust

Creating a trust takes a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, there are those in Michigan and elsewhere who, after leaving their attorney's office, fail to take the steps necessary to fund their trusts. Do not make this estate planning mistake.

So, what happens if one fails to fund his or her trust? Well, when it comes time to administer one's estate, there will be a lot of work for his or her loved ones. Before anything can be done, every asset will have to be identified and ownership of the property will have to be determined. If assets are not jointly owned or if there are no beneficiary designations, they will become what are called probate assets -- meaning distribution will then be based on the instructions left in a will, or if there is not will, it will be up to the court to decide based upon applicable law.

At the end of the day, even if one fails to fund a trust, there is a way to distribute one's estate. However, it may not be done as one intended, and the protections offered by the trust will not be enforced. Accordingly, taking time to make sure a trust is funded simply is a must.

An estate planning attorney can assist Michigan residents in creating trusts that protect their assets and their loved ones. Funding a trust is up to the trust owner, however. Those who are not sure how to do this can seek further counsel from their legal representatives in order to make sure that the trusts they spent so much time creating will actually serve their purpose.

Source: nwitimes.com, "Estate planning: Unfunded trusts", Christopher Yugo, May 7, 2017

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