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What assets should be put in a living trust?

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Quick Answer

Assets that should be put in a living trust include small business interests, real estate, art and collectibles, reports CNN Money. Saving and checking accounts, stock and bond certificates, patents and copyrights, jewelry, and valuable property can also go into living trusts, according to Nolo.

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Full Answer

Living trusts protect assets from estate tax and the time and expense of probate. They also enable the creator of the trust to select trustees and beneficiaries and allow him to stipulate the time and manner of the distribution of assets, states CNN Money.

Keeping business interests in living trusts ensures a quick transfer to the beneficiary so businesses can continue to run. The creator of a trust can put an entire sole proprietorship, shares of partnerships, closely held corporations or limited liability companies into a trust, says Nolo. Personal property that can go into a trust includes precious metals and gems, computers, books, household items, firearms and pets, reports About.com.

Qualified retirement accounts should not be put into a living trust because the transfer of funds is subject to full income tax and a heavy penalty tax, states About.com. Creators of trusts should be cautious about transferring vehicles to the trust, as some states consider the transfer a sale and levy a sizeable transfer tax. Any personal assets not in the trust should be included in a pour-over will so they transfer to the trust at the time of death, as reported by CNN Money.

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