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I get asked a lot: Should I set up a trust? Many of you have already done that, so let me give you a birds eye view of how a trust helps. And whether or not you need it.

BANK ACCOUNTS/BROKERAGE ACCOUNTS............ If your goal is to have a method in place to transfer funds to your heirs when you pass, you generally don't need a trust to make these types of transfers. Instead, you can designate one or more beneficiaries for each of these accounts. These are called Transfer on Death (TOD) or Pay on Death (POD) accounts. Your beneficiary produces a death certificate and funds are transferred . No trust document is required.

K1 INVESTMENTS............ There is no TOD/POD option for these, so you will need to have these investments titled to your trust. Upon your death, the trust document allows the operator of the investment to transfer ownership to your beneficiary

INCOME PROPERTIES......... Generally, there is no TOD/POD option. Title to these properties should be in the name of your trust or your LLC. Upon your death, beneficiaries produce a death certificate and the county will transfer title.

LLC......... If you own income properties through an LLC and depending on the state the LLC was formed in, your operating agreement can include a clause that allows your beneficiaries to assume ownership of the LLC when you pass. Which effectively gives them ownership of the properties that the LLC owns. Check with your attorney to see if your LLC includes this clause and if this is applicable to your situation.

PRIMARY RESIDENCE......... In most states, there is no TOD/POD option. Title to the house should be in the name of your trust. However, there are several states that do have a TOD/POD option. For example, if your primary residence is in Arizona, you can have a "Beneficiary Deed" created for your home. When you pass, the County can retitle the property to your beneficiary and no trust is required. (California does not have this so a trust is needed)

Not always a pleasant subject to cover, but necessary if you have assets.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have questions.

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