Make sure you actually complete your estate plan
I recently reviewed a matter where the Decedent’s prepared a trust in the 1990s and passed away 20+ years later. Family members had copies of the trust and they were arguing with each other because they wanted the Decedent’s stuff to be distributed according to the terms of the trust. However, the problem was that the trust was never funded.
You see a trust is just a document, a contract, between the grantor and trustee. The trust in and of itself does nothing, unless the trust becomes the owner of the Grantor’s property. In this specific case, there was no property (real or personal) titled to the trust. In other words, the trust owed, nothing – zip.
What is the lesson, if you set up a trust to manage and distribute your property, make sure you fund the trust, otherwise, you’re spending a couple of thousands of dollars for a nice document with no legal teeth.