[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]  Hi, I’m Jack Helgesen, one of the lawyers with Helgesen Law. I’m here to discuss with you today the number one mistake people make with a family trust, and we see this a lot-  it’s understandable. But before I tell you what the one mistake is, I want to talk to you a little bit about a trust. As you know, a trust is a legal arrangement for owning your property. You appoint a trustee – it can be yourself, and then you transfer property to the trust. Therefore, the property is owned by your trust and has a lot of advantages, including probate avoidance, protection to you in the event of disability, and many others, which you can see discussed elsewhere on this website.

But the issue then is whether you have actually transferred your property to the trust. Your home, for instance. Your home is a big deal and any real estate is a big deal when dealing with trusts. That real estate has to be in the trust, and if it’s not in the trust, almost all real estate interests require probates. Real estate probates are triggered by real estate being left out of the trust a lot of times. But anything can be left out – cars and motor vehicles, financial accounts – and the problem is that people think that if they have listed the property in their trust somewhere, it’s in it.

That is false. Get over that idea. I know that some of you may have bought a trust online – maybe you did a good job in writing the trust. Maybe you went to a good lawyer, maybe you went to a not so good lawyer, maybe you didn’t pay much money. But if you went to a good lawyer, you probably paid somewhere between two and $25,000 for a trust. And you take the trust and you read through it and you see there is a list of your property – some of you made long lists – the trust may refer to your house and may give your address and there may be a list of all the property you own. Ignore the list. That doesn’t guarantee that that property is in the trust. Merely listing a property in the trust does not do it.

Now, we’re beyond the scope of our little video today, but we’ll have another video on this website where you can find out how property is actually transferred. But the problem with the whole thing is that many of you have empty trusts – there’s simply nothing in it. You paid your two to $25,000 to get nothing. It’s an empty trust. It’s useless. It’s like an empty fridge, it’s like an empty bank account – not worth a thing. So, that’s it my friends. Talk to you later. [END VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]

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