1. Thinking your state will handle everything. You might think that having a trust, such as a revocable trust, is just for the rich or that if you have a will, you've covered your bases. Well, consider this: A will may indicate who gets what upon your death, but your estate may have to go through a very public probate process, and probate can be very expensive.
If you have a revocable trust, it eliminates the probate process for the assets titled in the name of the trust, and it ensures that your privacy and the privacy of your heirs are protected.
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2. Thinking your work is done after creating a trust. Establishing a trust and signing the document is just the first step, but many people forget to fund their revocable trust. Remember, the trust does not exist unless it holds assets. When you establish a revocable trust, you need to retitle your accounts in the name of the trust. Your financial planner or brokerage firm will help you do this.
As an additional measure, we recommend clients have a "pour over" will. Upon the grantor's death, it will collect and transfer all additional assets—such as jewelery and cars—into the revocable trust so that they will be dispersed according to your instructions and avoid probate.