Roadblocks to Realignment
If you refer back to our article from last month, you will recall that asset realignment is the essential and final step in establishing your trust. Asset realignment involves reviewing your current assets and retitling assets to match the goals of your trust. Generally, if you follow the instructions of your attorney, you are able to realign your assets independently. However, there are some common roadblocks you may encounter that might require additional assistance.
For instance, if you own real estate, the main roadblock you may encounter is if you have a mortgage on the property. Prior to creating a new deed transferring the property to your trust, contact your mortgage company to ensure that the terms of your agreement allow a transfer without penalty. If you skip this step, you may find yourself incurring unexpected fees – including owing the balance due on your loan! This is remedied by communication with your mortgage company, and in the worst-case scenario, refinancing with another company with more desirable policies on trusts.
Bank accounts and brokerage accounts are common assets to realign. Ask your financial institution what their policy is on trusts before you begin the realignment process. Certain credit unions cannot title assets in the name of a trust. Most institutions that can, will accept excerpts of the trust with pertinent information; however, some insist on a full copy of the trust for their records. Based on West Virginia Code (§ 44D-10-1013), the bank assumes additional liability if they make this request instead of relying on trust excerpts.