A trust is an effective tool used in estate planning to avoid probate, protect privacy, reduce or eliminate taxes and stipulate how you want your assets dispersed after your death (see New Mexico Trusts for more information). You may transfer property into a trust at any time during your life, or even after your life through a will. Keep in mind, though, that your will is subject to probate and any privacy you hoped to maintain through a testamentary trust (trust established through a last will & testament) will be subject to probate (see New Mexico Probate for more information).
To get the maximum benefit of your trust, it is important to transfer most of your property and assets into the trust while you are still living; this involves re-titling your property and transferring ownership of your assets from yourself to your trust. Any assets or property that you acquire after creating a trust are not automatically included in your trust—you must make sure they are titled appropriately.
Transferring assets into a trust, also known as funding a trust, can be a complicated and tedious process. Different assets require different paperwork, and not all assets should even be transferred to your trust. For example, if you have bank accounts or investment/retirement plans with a designated beneficiary, those assets will avoid probate and go directly to your beneficiary after you die; it is, therefore, unnecessary to include them in your trust. Sometimes it is advantageous to name your trust as a beneficiary and other times it is not. An experienced wills and trusts attorney can advise you on how best to fund your trust.
Funding a trust should only be done after consulting a qualified New Mexico wills and trusts attorney. An attorney can help you determine the best way to fund your trust and make sure that assets and property are properly titled for inclusion in your trust. Our New Mexico wills and trusts attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help you create an estate plan that maximizes the assets and property you wish to leave your loved ones.