What Assets Cannot Be Placed In A Trust?

What Assets Cannot Be Placed In A Trust - What Should You Not Put In A Living Trust - What Assets Should Not Be Included In A Living Trust

What assets cannot be placed in a trust? 

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • what should you not put in a living trust
  • reasons why each of these assets can’t go into a trust
  • how to handle these assets that can’t go in a trust

Let’s dig in.

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What Assets Cannot Be Placed In A Trust?

Here is a list of assets that cannot be placed into a trust:

  • Retirement Accounts
  • Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Life Insurance
  • Some Real Estate
  • Motor Vehicles
  • UTMA/UGMA Accounts
  • Certain Personal Property
  • Professional Service Corporations

Let’s dig deeper into the reasons these assets cannot get placed into a trust.

Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts like 401(k)s, 403(b)s, or IRAs can’t be put into a trust because of tax rules. 

The IRS has specific rules for these accounts. 

When you contribute to these accounts, you often get a tax deduction. 

The money grows tax-free until you withdraw it. 

If you move these assets into a trust during your lifetime, it’s like making a withdrawal. 

You would have to pay taxes on the entire amount. 

That’s why retirement accounts typically can’t be moved into a trust during your lifetime. 

But after your death, you can name a trust as a beneficiary of these accounts.

Read More: How Much Money Can You Inherit Without Paying Taxes On It?

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) And Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are personal accounts. 

They are tied directly to the individual they were established for. 

These accounts are designed to pay for the healthcare costs of that person.

Placing HSAs or FSAs into a trust would mean transferring ownership. 

But the law says these accounts can’t be transferred. 

They must stay in the name of the person they were created for.

Moreover, these accounts have special tax advantages

These advantages could be lost if the accounts were put into a trust. 

This is because a trust is a separate legal entity. 

It has different tax rules compared to individual accounts.

So, to keep the tax benefits and follow the law, HSAs and FSAs cannot be placed into a trust.

Read More: Do You Need A Lawyer To Remove A Name From A Deed?

Life Insurance

Life insurance policies themselves can’t be directly placed into a trust. 

This is due to the contractual nature of the policy between the insurer and the insured. 

However, you can name a trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. 

This means when the policy pays out, the money goes directly to the trust. 

This method is commonly used to create an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT).

This can help manage estate taxes and protect the proceeds for beneficiaries.

Read More: What Happens To An Irrevocable Trust When The Grantor Dies?

Certain Types Of Real Estate

Certain types of real estate may have issues being placed in a trust due to the mortgage agreement. 

A “due on sale” clause is often present in these contracts. 

This clause means if you transfer the property into a trust, the lender may demand full payment on the mortgage. 

This happens because the lender sees the transfer as a sale. 

So, transferring such real estate to a trust can trigger a demand for immediate full repayment, which can be problematic.

Read More: Does A Revocable Trust Become Irrevocable Upon Death

Motor Vehicles

Motor vehicles can technically be placed in a trust, but often it’s not done. Here’s why:

  • Registration Issues: When a car is put into a trust, the registration must be changed. This can be a hassle.
  • Frequent Buying and Selling: If you often buy and sell cars, each time, you need to change the registration. This creates more work.
  • Insurance Matters: Insurance companies need to know who owns the car. If it’s a trust, it can make the insurance process more complicated.
  • Small Asset Value: Cars decrease in value over time. Given the administrative work involved, it often doesn’t make financial sense to put cars in a trust.

These reasons make putting cars into a trust less common, but it’s not impossible. 

It depends on the specifics of each situation.

Read More: How To Set Up A Trust Fund For A Child

UTMA And UGMA Accounts

UTMA and UGMA accounts are types of custodial accounts. 

They are gifts given directly to minors. 

These accounts are in the minor’s name from the start. 

They are managed by a custodian until the minor reaches a certain age. 

This is often 18 or 21, depending on the state. 

The key point is that the minor is the owner of the account. 

That means the account can’t be moved into a trust. 

The trust is a separate legal entity. 

It’s not possible to move ownership from the minor to the trust. 

This is because UTMA and UGMA accounts are designed to be outright gifts to the minor. 

They are not designed to be controlled by a trust.

Read More: The Biggest Mistake Parents Make When Setting Up A Trust Fund

Certain Personal Property

Certain personal property, like art or jewelry, does not come with official documents that prove ownership. 

These items can be hard to transfer to a trust. 

Trusts work best with assets that have a clear legal title. 

When an asset lacks this title, there’s no straightforward way to move it into the trust. 

In many cases, people simply list these items in a trust document.

But the process is less formal and clear-cut than for assets with legal titles.

Read More: How Much Does A Living Trust Cost?

Professional Service Corporations

Professional service corporations are businesses that provide professional services like law or medicine. 

Only licensed lawyers or doctors can own these corporations. 

Trusts can’t hold professional licenses. 

So, they can’t own shares in these corporations. 

This is due to rules about who can own and control these kinds of businesses. 

It’s designed to ensure that only qualified and licensed professionals run them.

Read More: How Much Money Do You Need To Start A Trust Fund For A Child?

FAQs About What Assets Cannot Be Placed In A Trust

Here are other questions our clients ask us related to what should you not put in a living trust. 

Who Needs A Trust Instead Of A Will?

A trust may be needed instead of a will for several reasons:

  • Avoid Probate: If you want to avoid probate, a court process that can be time-consuming and costly, you need a trust. A trust lets your assets pass directly to your beneficiaries without probate.
  • Privacy: If you want to keep your estate details private after your death, choose a trust. Wills become public record after death, but trusts do not.
  • Managing Assets During Incapacity: A trust can manage your assets if you become unable to do so. A will does not offer this protection during your lifetime.
  • Underage Beneficiaries: If your beneficiaries are minors, a trust allows you to control when and how they receive their inheritance.
  • Estate Taxes: If you have a large estate that might owe estate taxes, a trust can help reduce or avoid these taxes.
  • Complex Family Situations: If you have a blended family, a trust can specify how assets are divided.
  • Specific Instructions Over Time: A trust can provide detailed instructions about how to distribute your assets over time, which a will can’t do.
  • Owning Property in Multiple States: If you own property in different states, a trust can avoid the need for separate probate proceedings in each state.

Read More: Can I Set Up A Trust Without My Spouse?

At What Net Worth Do I Need A Trust?

You might need a trust if your net worth is significant, often suggested at around $100,000 to $150,000 or more. 

This is because trusts help avoid probate, a process that can be costly and time-consuming. 

If you own real estate in multiple states, a trust can help regardless of your net worth.

However, a trust’s usefulness isn’t solely about net worth. 

You might want a trust if:

  • You want more control over when and how your assets are distributed after your death.
  • You have a disabled relative you want to provide for without disrupting their eligibility for government aid.
  • You want to keep your estate’s details private.

Read More: How To Set Up A Trust

Should I Put My House In A Trust?

Placing your house in a trust has several potential benefits:

  • Avoid Probate: If you put your house in a trust, it won’t need to go through probate after your death. This can make the transfer of property quicker and less expensive.
  • Privacy: Trusts are not public record. This means the details of your estate stay private after your death.
  • Control: A trust lets you control how your property is managed and distributed after you pass away.
  • Protection: A properly structured trust can protect your assets from creditors or lawsuits.

However, there are also disadvantages of putting your house in a trust, like:

  • Cost: Creating a trust can be expensive and requires ongoing administration.
  • Mortgage Issues: If your house has a mortgage, transferring it to a trust could trigger the “due on sale” clause. This means you’d have to pay off the mortgage right away.
  • Taxes: Trusts may have different tax rules. For example, property taxes could increase if you transfer your house to a trust.

Remember, whether you should put your house in a trust depends on your personal situation. 

It’s a decision that should be made after considering your:

  • estate planning needs
  • financial situation
  • family circumstances

Read More: Does Your House Have To Be Paid Off To Put It In A Trust

Should Bank Accounts Be Included In A Living Trust?

Yes, it can be beneficial to include bank accounts in a living trust

Here’s why bank accounts should be included in a living trust:

  • Avoid Probate: Placing your bank account in a living trust helps avoid probate. Probate is a legal process to distribute your assets after death. It can be long and expensive.
  • Control: A living trust lets you control what happens to your assets. You can specify when and how your heirs receive the assets from your bank account.
  • Privacy: Trusts are private. Probate is public. By placing your bank account in a trust, you keep your financial information private.
  • Ease of Management: With a trust, your chosen trustee can manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. This includes accessing your bank account to pay for your needs.

So, adding a bank account to a living trust can offer control, privacy, and simplicity. 

It can also help your heirs avoid a potentially long and costly probate process.

Read More: Who Owns The Property In An Irrevocable Trust

Does A Trust Override A Will?

Yes, a trust can override a will in some respects. 

When you have a trust and a will, the trust governs the assets it holds. 

The will covers anything not included in the trust. 

If an asset is in the trust, the trust’s terms will be followed, even if the will says something different. 

This is because the trust has legal ownership of the assets it holds, and the terms of the trust are legally binding. 

But remember, a will is necessary to cover any assets not held in the trust.

Read More: How Much Does An Estate Have To Be Worth To Go To Probate?

Protect Your Assets From Taxes, Creditors, And Lawsuits

If you want help figuring out what assets to put into a trust, fill out the form below. 

At The Hive Law, we understand the importance of:

  • protecting your hard-earned assets 
  • ensuring your family’s future
  • not losing everything to creditors and lawsuits
  • properly (and legally) distributing assets 

We only accommodate a limited number of clients each month.

So don’t miss your opportunity to work with our trust fund lawyers.

Benefits of our trust services:

  • Tailored solutions to fit your unique needs and goals
  • Expert guidance in navigating complex tax and legal matters
  • Preservation of your wealth for future generations
  • Streamlined asset distribution according to your wishes

Avoid the pitfalls of inadequate estate planning strategies:

  • Creditors seizing your assets
  • Lawsuits jeopardizing your family’s financial security
  • Family disputes over inheritance
  • Costly and time-consuming probate processes

Talk soon.

Get A FREE Consultation!

We run out of free consultations every month. Sign up to make sure you get your free consultation. (Free $350 value.)

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