Question: My husband and I established a revocable living trust a few years ago. Although I distinctly remember signing the documents for the revocable living trust, I do not recall signing any other documents. My husband recently died, and last week I began reviewing all of our legal paperwork, including the revocable living trust. The revocable living trust lists our home, our time share in San Diego, and several mutual funds on the schedule of assets. When I talked to our accountant, however, our accountant said that we had never formally transferred those assets into the revocable living trust, and that these assets were not part of the revocable living trust. Is that right?
Answer: Probably. The transfer to the revocable living trust of any real property, such as your home and the San Diego time share, and the transfer of securities, such as mutual funds, requires formal documentation. Even though you and your husband may have intended to transfer those assets into the revocable living trust, you did not execute the transfer documents for the home and the San Diego time share, and you did not execute transfer documents required by the mutual funds to transfer the funds into the revocable living trust. Therefore, there are probably no assets in the revocable living trust.
Although the transfer of any asset into a revocable living trust should have formal documentation, some personal property assets can be transferred to the revocable living trust simply by listing those assets on the schedule of assets. For example, even if there is no formal bill of sale, the listing of a specific piece of jewelry or specific household furnishings on a schedule of assets should be sufficient to transfer the title to those assets into the revocable living trust.