After you have created a revocable trust, it is necessary to fund your trust with your assets. Funding a trust is the transfer of assets to the trust name. When you transfer assets to your trust, or when the trustee buys and sells various assets owned by the trust, the third parties with whom you will be dealing will need verification that your trust exists and that the trustee has the authority to act on behalf of the trust. If you prefer not to provide an entire copy of the trust agreement, as you may not want other people to be able to read the provisions of your private trust document, you may instead provide a copy of the Certificate of Trust.
The Certificate of Trust is an abbreviated version of your trust that includes the specific information about your trust that the third parties will want to see. The Certificate of Trust enables you to avoid disclosing the particulars of your estate plan by disclosing only the necessary information. You may find that you will be using your Certificate of Trust repeatedly over time as trust assets are bought and sold.
Note, however, some financial institutions may not accept the Certificate of Trust; rather, they will want to see a copy of the entire trust agreement. In this case, you can ask if they will accept only the relevant parts of the trust to transfer the asset to the trust.
A deed is required to convey interests in real estate to your revocable trust. In the future, should you acquire any additional real estate, you should purchase and title such real estate in the name of your revocable trust. You should obtain the assistance of an out-of-state attorney to transfer any non-Florida real estate into your revocable trust.
All non-homestead and homestead real estate can be placed in the revocable trust. Importantly, if you transfer your homestead to your revocable trust, you must reapply for the homestead tax exemption after your property has been transferred to your trust. The property appraiser’s office in the county where your homestead is located will need a copy of your trust or your Certificate of Trust to prove that you are entitled to the homestead tax exemption.
Bank, Savings and Other Financial Accounts
It is important to change the name on each bank, brokerage, and money market account that you wish to be owned by the revocable trust. Each financial institution holding an account should be contacted to change the current owner of the account to the trust. If the bank allows, you will be able to keep the same account numbers on your accounts.
The financial institution will want to see a copy of your trust or the Certificate of Trust to verify the trust exists. It is recommended that after the name change takes place, you check your account statements to ensure they reflect the name of the trust as the account owner.
If you have a safe deposit box, you may want to change the registration to your revocable trust. This can avoid a probate proceeding following death which may otherwise be required to open the box if the deceased is the only authorized name on the box.