Living Trust Checklist

Things for you to consider and do about creation of a Living Trust

1.  Decide if you need a shared trust or an individual trust.
If you are married or in a domestic partnership and you and your spouse or partner own most of your property together, a shared trust may be the right way to go.  Your other choice is two individual trusts.

2.  Decide what items to put in the trust.
You probably would not want to hold all your property in your living trust.  Most people put big-ticket monetary value items only in their trust.

3.  Decide who will inherit your trust property.
For most people, choosing family members, friends, or charities to inherit property is easy.  After you make your first choices, don’t forget to choose alternate (contingent) beneficiaries, too.

4.  You will be the primary trustee of the trust.  Choose someone to be your “successor trustee”.
Your trust must name someone to serve as “successor trustee,” to distribute trust property to the beneficiaries after you have died. Once you’ve made your choice, discuss it with the person you have in mind to make sure he or she is willing to take on this responsibility.

5.  Choose someone to manage your children’s property.
If children or young adults might inherit trust property, you should choose an adult to manage whatever they inherit. To give that person authority over the child’s property, you can make him or her a property guardian, a property custodian under a law called the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA), or a trustee.

6.  Hire a lawyer to advise you and help prepare your trust documents.

7.  Sign your trust document in front of a notary.
You can create a living trust online with Nolo’s Online Living Trust. You log in, answer questions about yourself and your property, and the program will print out a living trust for you. After making your trust, you (and your spouse, if you made a trust together) must sign it in front of a notary public and record it.

8.  Transfer title of property to yourself as trustee.
This is a crucial step that, unfortunately, some people never take. But to make your trust effective, you must hold title to trust property in your name as trustee.

Example:  If a John Smith wants to hold real estate in his trust, he must prepare and sign a new deed transferring the real estate to “John Smith, trustee of the John Smith Revocable Living Trust dated ——-.”

8.  Store your trust document safely.
Tell your successor trustee where the trust document is and how to get access to it when the time comes.


Please contact us with your ideas and questions about a living trust, seller and buyer opportunities for trust and probate properties in Orange County, California.

Do I Need a Living Trust?  Click here for free California Bar Association article.  

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“Helping People, Moving Forward, Developing Relationships and Protecting Property Values”  

Harrison K. Long – Business Solutions and Advisory – REALTOR® and broker associate, GRI, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – 949-854-7747 (phone) –  CA DRE 01410855 – (email) – Cal State Bar Association, member 69137

This is for information only and not the providing of legal or tax services.  You should be careful about setting up a living trust and contact an attorney.

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