The premise is that all of your assets should be in your trust although, as you will see, there are some exceptions. Your attorney will confirm which of your assets should be transferred to your trust. Here are some general categories:
Home, Other Real Estate: Depending on where the property is located, a correction deed, grant deed, warranty deed, assignment or quitclaim deed will be used to change the title to your trust. Your attorney will probably transfer your home for you. This is a good idea because a) it is often the most valuable asset people own and b) the legal description and titles must be exact. Out-of-state property should also be transferred to your trust to avoid a conservatorship and/or probate there.
Transferring your home to a living trust is not usually considered a sale because the trust is revocable, and so will not disturb the current mortgage, insurance, property taxes, homestead exemption or capital gains tax exemption. You may need the lender’s permission for other real estate. Also, if you want to refinance, your lender may require you to temporarily remove the property from your trust.
Bank/Saving Accounts: Your bank may want to open a new trust account with a new account number and new checks, but the checks can be printed with your name and address, and you can sign them with your usual signature. They will ask to see certain pages of your trust to verify its existence and the trustee’s powers, but a shorter Certificate of Trust, prepared by your attorney, will satisfy this requirement without having to compromise the confidentiality of your trust. One benefit of having a trust account is that the amount of FDIC insurance is often more than on a regular account because it is based on the number of grantors and beneficiaries of the trust.
Investment Accounts: You will need to provide a letter of instruction (like the sample provided by your attorney) or complete the firm’s form. Your signature may need to be guaranteed. They will also want to see the Certificate of Trust to verify the trust’s existence and trustee’s powers.
Businesses: Most business interests—including sole proprietorships, closely-held corporations, subchapter S corporations, family limited partnerships, limited liability companies, general partnership interests, copyrights, patents, royalties, and oil and gas interests—can be transferred to your living trust. Be sure to discuss these early on with your attorney so that all proper procedures are followed and unintended consequences are avoided.
Personal Untitled Property: Furniture, artwork, clothing, jewelry, cameras, sporting equipment, books and other similar belongings that do not have formal titles will be transferred to your trust by an Assignment.