Funding Your Living Trust In California

The following discusses how title to your California assets should be transferred into your living trust and any differences in the way title should be taken for specific types of assets. The purpose of transferring property into your living trust is to avoid probate in California, the probate fees, the delays in transferring property to your rightful heirs because of probate and the public nature of the California probate proceeding.


For my own estate, the Mitchell A. Port Family Living Trust is intended eventually to hold title to substantially all of my assets.

Generally, I should transfer title to my assets from my individual name to:

“Mitchell A. Port, Trustee, Mitchell A. Port Family Living Trust dated May ____, 2010”

Here is a list of the property to consider putting into a living trust:

1. Automobiles

2. Bank, Savings and Other Cash Accounts
3. Bonds, T-Bills, Commodities
4. Club Memberships
5. Life Insurance; Pension, Profit Sharing, Retirement Plans
6. Notes:

a. Secured by Real Property

b. Secured by Personal Property

c. Unsecured

7. Partnerships and LLCs: Limited (or General) Partnerships and LLCs
8. Real Property

a. Reassessment
b. Loan Acceleration
c. Title Insurance
d. Homeowner’s Exemption
e. Homeowner’s Insurance
f. Purchases of Real Property
g. Sales of Real Property

9. Stock

a. Marketable Securities
b. Mutual Funds; Margin and Ready Asset Accounts
c. Closely Held Corporations

10. Prepare a list of information that would be useful in case of death or a health emergency and add it to this book or some place easily locatable:

a. Bank Accounts and Safe-Deposit Boxes
All bank names – account numbers – personal contact, if available – location of safe-deposit box – contents of box – location of box key;

b. Credit Cards
Issuers – account numbers – expiration dates – special information (airline mileage points, balances owed);

c. Insurance

Home, car, life, health, long-term care: issuers – account numbers – agents – premium due dates;

d. Health Care
Contact information for physicians – current medications and dosages – Medicare claim number – Medigap policy number;

e. Taxes
Accountant information – location of past filings;

f. Investment And Retirement Accounts
Names of brokerage or plan administrators – account numbers – PIN numbers – Names of bankers or brokers;

g. House
Amount of mortgage payment or rent – due date – location of deeds and property titles – contact information for service people;

h. Miscellaneous
(i) Driver’s license number and expiration date; (ii) vehicle registration information; (iii) any items in storage and storage company phone number; (iv) contact information for neighbors and friends; (v) e-mail accounts, websites, and passwords; (vi) the combination to any safe in your home; and (vii) a list of the automatic payments from and deposits to bank accounts.