South Carolina residents can use an estate plan to ensure that their assets are managed according to their wishes and that their beneficiaries are not overly burdened with handling the estate. The inclusion of a trust is an important part of having a complete and efficient estate plan.
One type of asset that individuals can place into trusts is real estate. They can have an attorney draft a deed or deed in trust so that the real estate title is transferred into the trust. This transfers the title from under the individual’s name to that of the trustee of the trust.
Trusts can also be used to transfer personal property, including items like valuable collectibles, furniture, clothing and appliances. An attorney can draft a bill of sale, an assignment or some other similar document to demonstrate that the title of the property is being transferred to the trust.
However, assignments are only appropriate for items that do not have some form of title demonstrating ownership. Individuals should refrain from using assignments to transfer vehicles, stocks or other items for which there is documentation verifying ownership.
Individuals also have the option of transferring their financial accounts into a trust. For bank accounts, such as checking or savings accounts, they will have to provide an affidavit of trust or certificate of trust to the bank and state that they want to move the accounts into the trust. The trustee of the trust will have to sign the new signature cards that will be issued by the financial institution.
An attorney who provides estate planning services may help a client determine which types of trusts may be most appropriate for their assets and goals. The lawyer could assist with drafting the provisions of the trust to ensure the management of the assets is in line with the client’s wishes.