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We all know the primary tool used to avoid probate is the Revocable Living Trust. Essentially anything you do not want to go through probate can become assets belonging to the trust. When you pass away the Trust as a living legal entity does not. What does happen is that the trustee, you , passed away and now the trust will be liquidated by the successor trustee or managed going forward by the successor trustee.

As a general rule what you want to put in the trust is anything you must sign for. This would be things like your house, your car, your bank accounts, etc. Anything you could not obtain without first signing for it. So what do you not put in the trust? The biggest one is your IRA. You are the owner of the IRA. You can make the beneficiary of the IRA your trust but you cannot put the IRA into the trust. The other are all the things you own that you did not need to sign for. These can be the silver serving trays, your collectibles, your tools, etc.  If you want to have personal items such as this bypass probate they must be entered into the trust. What is suggested is that you attach an addendum to the trust showing the item and who you would like this to go to. This way those items do not need to be accounted for in the probate process and you save a lot of family fights by pre-designating who should get them.

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