Written by attorney Edward Albert Brown

Beware the Empty Trust!

One of the most common situations I encounter in Estate Administration is an empty trust. An empty trust is a trust that never ends up actually holding any property or assets. Attorneys that do not specialize in Elder Law often provide clients with a trust printed on very nice paper and put into a fancy binder but leave the task of transferring assets to that trust squarely upon the client. As a result, the trust is never used to its full potential. When the client passes away, assets end up in probate, adding delay and expense to an already difficult time for their families. Similarly, estate tax savings provisions in the trust go unused, leaving the family to pay death tax they otherwise may have avoided.

If you have a trust, your assets should be clearly titled in the name of that trust. You should also be familiar with the goals and purposes of the trust and what you need to do to take full advantage of its provisions. If you think you may be suffering from an empty trust or do not fully understand how your trust works, you should schedule a review with an Elder Law Attorney to evaluate your trust and make sure it is properly funded.

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