How to Fund an Irrevocable Trust

By Melly Parker
Take stock of your assets before funding your irrevocable trust.
Making a financial plan image by Allen Stoner from

When you set up an irrevocable trust, you give up any rights to the assets that you place into it. The trust cannot be modified without the permission of your beneficiaries, even though you are the one who funded it. When you place money or assets into an irrevocable trust, you need to be sure that they are not assets you're going to need or want during your lifetime. After you've selected what assets you want to place in the irrevocable trust, they must be transferred into the name of the trust.

Obtain a list of your assets, including all checking accounts, savings accounts, investments, property, vehicles, insurance policies and valuable items.

Choose the items that you wish to place into your irrevocable trust. Make sure that you will not want these assets during your lifetime.

Contact your trust lawyer and your beneficiary. Set up a meeting for the three of you to meet. Bring stock certificates, account balances and proof of ownership for anything else you wish to use to fund the irrevocable trust.

Change the ownership of the items you're using to find the trust to your beneficiary under the name of your irrevocable trust. Where once a stock was owned by you, it will now read as being owned by your beneficiary through your trust, dated from when you signed the change of ownership.

Change the beneficiary on any insurance assets or other accounts that are paid through a third-party to your beneficiary under the trust. Even if they are already the beneficiary on these assets, the wording will have to be changed so that it reflects ownership by the trust. Your estate lawyer will make the arrangements to have this changed so that you and your beneficiary can sign the forms.