Trust Funding and Estate Planning

Trust funding is the process of transferring your assets to your trust. Funding your trust is an important part of the estate planning process. If your assets are not transferred to your trust, a guardianship may be necessary if you become incapacitated, and a probate would be necessary upon death. This can save time and money for your heirs and help ensure your assets are distributed more quickly and efficiently.

For a trust to be effective, it must be properly funded, and this mandates thoughtful execution requiring that you transfer ownership of your assets to the trust. If you do not fund the trust, the trust document will not govern your assets, and they will likely be subject to probate. Moreover, properly funding your trust will help protect your assets from creditors or potential legal challenges. When you place your assets in a trust, you can shield yourself from potential lawsuits or other legal actions, which can help ensure that your beneficiaries receive the full value of your estate.

Steps for Funding a Trust in Oklahoma

  1. Creating the trust document: As the first step in the funding process, creating a trust document requires the grantor or settlor to specify their terms and conditions for the document, decide who the beneficiaries will be, who the trustee/s will be, and how the assets in the trust will be distributed.
  2. Selecting assets to transfer: Once the trust document has been generated, the grantor or settlor must decide which assets they will be transferring. This can include personal property, bank accounts, and/or investment accounts.
  3. Transferring assets to the trust: Once your trust is signed and notarized, the assets must then be moved to the trust, whether they are accounts, deeds, or personal property.
  4. Discuss with your financial institutions: Some financial institutions may require additional documentation to be completed. The grantor or settlor may be required to fill out these additional documents.
  5. Review your designated beneficiaries: If the assets were originally set for the beneficiaries, you may have to transfer them to the trust.

The Costs of Funding a Trust in Oklahoma

While the cost of every trust is unique, there is a formula you can use to determine your trust's cost. Determining the type and number of assets that will be transferred, their value, and any fees from financial institutions or appraisers is recommended. Additionally, there may be some attorney fees for drafting and reviewing the trust documents. The cost of funding a trust can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. This value is dictated by the complex nature of the estate plan, the number of assets, and how you allocate those assets. This process can be overwhelming for many, so it is essential to reach out to an estate planning attorney who will be able to assist you with any questions you may have.

Traditional Assets that Would Require Funding

Some traditional assets, such as surface deeds, mineral deeds, vehicles, and financial assets, would require funding. Additionally, your estate planning attorney will be able to gather information on the possible taxes associated with transferring assets to your trust.

The Cost for Funding a Trust in Oklahoma Might Include the


  1. Legal fees: Your estate planning attorney may issue a fee for drafting and reviewing your trust document and helping you navigate the process.
  2. Appraisal fees: Assets, including real estate or personal belongings, may require an appraisal to determine their value.
  3. Transfer fees: Some financial institutions may issue a fee for transferring your assets to a trust. Reach out to your financial institution to determine the cost of these fees.

Transferring a Retirement Plan to a Trust

Transferring a retirement plan to a trust is not always a necessity. There can even be penalties, such as taxes, that may come up if you do so. The notable part of transferring this retirement plan is where the finances go. Instead of changing the retirement plan’s owner, it might be easier to designate which of your beneficiaries will receive the finances after your passing. Transferring your retirement plan to your trust grants the grantor or settlor more control over when and how the assets are distributed to your beneficiaries. Instead of deciding which path to follow, reach out to a local attorney that can help you consider all your options when it comes to transferring your retirement plan to your trust.

Transferring a Life Insurance Plan to a Trust

Transferring a life insurance plan to a trust is not always required like retirement plans. The focus is once again on where these finances go. Life insurance policies will usually ask you to dictate where your finances go by designating them to specific beneficiaries. You can send the finances to your beneficiaries or put them into the trust. Transferring the assets from your life insurance plan to your trust would grant you more control over how and when these assets are allocated. Instead of deciding which path to follow, reach out to a local attorney that can help you consider all your options when it comes to transferring your life insurance plan to a trust.

Avoiding Probate with an Estate Plan Trust

While there are multiple advantages to funding a trust in Oklahoma, one of the most important is avoiding probate. If you are subject to probate, it can cost a large amount of time and money. You can easily avoid probate by withholding your assets in a trust. Additionally, the assets will likely be distributed to your beneficiaries much faster than they would through probate. Probate is also a public trial, meaning anyone can view who your beneficiaries are and how much they received.


Contact Us Today

Our experienced attorneys provide detailed instructions and advise clients concerning how each asset in their trusts should be properly funded. To learn more about a customized trust funding plan, call Ball Morse Lowe today at (405) 701-5355 or email

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The attorneys at Ball Morse Lowe have built a respected reputation over the decades for providing sophisticated counsel in complex oil, gas, and energy law matters, business law cases, transactions, estate planning, and family law matters. We take pride in assisting individuals and families with their legal concerns. Personable and responsive, our lawyers craft documents and develop strategies tailored to each client's unique goals and needs.

Ball Morse Lowe PLLC is committed to providing excellent service and sound solutions to our clients in a cost-effective manner. From our offices in Norman, Oklahoma City, Edmond, Stillwater, Frisco, and Denver, our attorneys provide services throughout the Oklahoma City, DFW, and Denver Metros and in other states, including Texas, North Dakota, Ohio, Colorado, California, Wyoming, and New Mexico.

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