By Sarah Stewart Legal Group

If you have a Trust or a Will set up, you may think your job is done.  It’s all smooth sailing from here.  You’re set!

But, the truth is, your job is just beginning. A trust is only as good as what you put in it, and a Will does not avoid probate.  So, you need to have a back up plan for a Will, and make sure your trust is funded, if that’s your chosen plan.

It’s easy to have real estate placed into a trust.  Often, the attorney can do that for you.  Funding your trust, or avoiding probate on other assets can be harder. Attorneys cannot easily access these accounts on your behalf and with so many options to open accounts, some can easily be missed.

Make sure you have included the following most often missed assets in your trust or beneficiary plans.

(1) Bank Accounts

There are so many options available for opening banking accounts today.  You can click a few buttons online, put in a few bucks, and you’re all set.

Whether it be checking or savings, you want to make sure your accounts are titled in the trust you created, or have payable on death beneficiaries and powers of attorney if you do not have a trust.  That way, when something happens, your bank accounts can automatically go exactly where you want them to or be managed in a way you like.

(2) Retirement Accounts

You can leave your trust, or anyone you would like, as a beneficiary on your retirement accounts.

People who have worked for decades for an organization can forget to update beneficiaries, or may even forget what company holds their accounts.  On the other hand, those who have changed jobs frequently nay not have rolled their accounts over and have several different accounts.  Keep track of this information and update beneficiaries after major life changes.

(3) Stocks, Bonds, Etc.

Much like retirement accounts, these are assets people tend to hold for a long time and can sometimes forget about. Also, like retirement accounts, these items usually allow you to choose one or more beneficiaries.

Be sure to keep track of all of these types of assets you own and keep beneficiaries updated.

Making a plan for your family when you die is just the beginning.  You will need to fund your trust with all of your most important assets, or make a plan for distribution in addition to a Will, if you have chosen a Will for your estate planning.

You will also want to update and change your plans as life changes. Adding and removing beneficiaries, and updating assets are vital to keeping your plan effective throughout your lifetime.

Or course, if you have not begun you estate plan at all, you will want to reach out to professionals who can evaluate your goals and walk you through your options and the process of planning.