Nov 07, 2010

Are Living Trusts Filed Anywhere?

safe.jpgDear Liza: My husband and I just finished creating a living trust. Do we file it anywhere, like with our county? Weirdly, no. But people ask me this all of the time. It seems that something so important should be filed somewhere. But during your lifetime your trust just lives in a fireproof safe, or a safe deposit box, or somewhere safe where people will be able to find it, if they need to. After one, or both of you, die, then a copy of the trust will get sent to the county so that names can be changed on your house's title, and sometimes financial institutions and banks will also want to see it--just to make sure that 1) it exists and 2) the successor trustee is clearly identified in the document. So, keep it safe and let your family and successor trustees know how to find it. Some words of advice: DON'T leave your trust in an unmarked binder on your bookshelf (like I did for years) and DON'T swing by Target on your way to a little league game to buy a fireproof safe when you finally feel sufficiently guilty to do the right thing--safes are heavy, I had to get a Target-guy to wrestle it into the car and then get my neighbor-the-cop to wrestle it into our house. Also, maybe don't put the safe in the room in the house with the Wii--or your nine year old may raid the safe to get the batteries out for the Wii remote.