So you’ve created a living trust. Awesome. You are super responsible. Spectacular. Your estate is so planned. Excellent.
Reveling in your excellence, you may be thinking to yourself, “You did a great job, Self. You are so responsible, and your estate plan (which is very much planned) is good to go!”
But guess what? Yourself would be wrong.
Is my trust useless?
When you sign a trust document, you just have some sheets of paper. It may be fancy paper — and it’s definitely expensive paper — but it’s still just paper. And paper alone (usually) does not avoid probate. In other words: By itself, a signed trust can be pretty useless.
Think of a trust like a box. When you sign the trust, you have an empty box. To avoid probate, you want to fill that box with all your “stuff,” your assets. Anything that’s in the box at your death doesn’t have to go through probate. Anything that’s not in the box at your death does.