Personal Property Without a Legal Certificate of Title
Funding your trust with your personal effects that do not have a legal certificate of title, such as jewelry, clothing, art work, antiques, and collectibles, even your pets, can be accomplished by a single document referred to as an "Assignment of Tangible Personal Property," also called a "Quitclaim Bill of Sale." This document simply states that all of your personal items without a legal certificate of title that you own at the time you sign your trust agreement will be funded into your trust. This will save you from having to make a list of each and every personal item that you own. It should also provide that additional personal items that you acquire after the document is signed will automatically become a part of your trust fund. The Assignment of Tangible Personal Property is an important document that will allow for your personal effects to avoid probate.
Personal Property With a Legal Certificate of Title
For personal items that have a legal certificate of title, such as cars, boats, or airplanes, you should consult with an attorney in the state where each vehicle is titled in order to determine if it will be necessary to transfer ownership of the vehicle into your trust. Some states have a streamlined, non-probate process for transferring titles to vehicles after the owner dies. On the other hand, some states will treat the transfer of a vehicle into a trust as an actual sale of the vehicle, which will force you to pay substantial fees and taxes in order to obtain a new title to the vehicle in the name of your trust.
If you do decide to proceed with obtaining a new title in the name of your trust, be prepared to pay minimal or substantial fees depending upon the rules of the state where the vehicle is titled. Aside from this, if you have a lien against the vehicle, then you'll need to obtain permission from your lender before a new certificate of title can be issued in the name of your trust.
If you do obtain a new certificate of title, be sure to notify your liability insurance carrier about the change in ownership. Generally, the insurance carrier will simply add your trust as an additional insured on your policy and will charge either a nominal fee or no fee to do so.