Funding a trust takes a little work, but it is well worth the effort for one very important reason: the Trustee has legal control only over property titled in the trust’s name. Any property not titled in the name of the trust is never legally owned by it and property not owned by the trust is in danger of having to be probated when its owner dies; however, property that is properly titled in the name of the trust never has to go through probate court because trusts never die!

If the funding process sounds confusing to you, thinking of it in another way might help. Some have described a Revocable Living Trust as a “magic box” in which you place all of the titles to your property. You just open the top of the box and place in it the deed to the house, the car, the checking account, the investment account, and anything else desired. Since you can name yourself as the Trustee of your own trust, you will maintain legal control over everything you put into your magic box. At any time you want you can just reach into the box and take out the title to any asset and do with it as you please. You can sell, trade, invest, or give it away just as if you never had a trust. And at your death, it is as if the magic box is automatically handed to your designated successor trustee to administer your property according to your instructions. All this happens without your property being probated.