How to Move Stock into a Revocable Trust

After you create a revocable or living trust you have to fund it. That means transferring all your personal assets into the name of the trust. House deeds, stocks and bonds, and other items have to be changed from your name to that of the trust, such as I.M. Person to I.M. Person Living Trust, I.M. Person trustee; you normally name yourself as trustee for your lifetime so you can continue to control assets. You'll still be able to sell stocks any time you wish but in the name of the trust.

Move publicly traded stocks or mutual fund shares that are held in a brokerage account by sending the broker a letter asking to have the account transferred from your name to that of the trust. Include a copy of your trust agreement. Attach a copy of your letter and a confirming letter from the broker to your trust document for your records.

Transfer stocks in your name that are not held in a brokerage account by contacting the issuing company or the broker who bought the stock for you. Use a designated transfer agent who is responsible for keeping records on stock ownership; the investor relations department of the company will identify the transfer agent. Follow directions of the transfer agent; normally you sign a transfer request and surrender your stock certificates and get replacements in the name of the trust.

Request that the original certificate of unregistered stocks, those not listed on a public market like the New York Stock Exchange, be canceled and a new certificate reissued. Use this technique for stock in a limited liability company or S corporation or other firm whose stock is not publicly traded. Get agreement of other owners in writing if the LLC or S corporation has shared ownership.

Shift stock options, which give you the right to buy shares in a company at a specified price at some time in the future, by designating the trustee as the person authorized to exercise the option. Notify the issuer of the option in writing that the option is being assigned from I.M. Person to I.M. Person Living Trust. Keep the letter and a confirmation with your trust agreement.


About the Author

Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.