assignment of shares to trust

A DIY guide to transferring assets into a living trust

You may have established a living trust, but it's not functional until you transfer ownership of your assets to it.

Find out more about Living Trusts

assignment of shares to trust

by   Brette Sember, J.D.

Brette Sember, J.D., practiced law in New York, including divorce, mediation, family law, adoption, probate and estat...

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Updated on: February 9, 2024 · 10min read

Key takeaways of a living trust

Understanding the benefits of a revocable living trust, preparing to transfer your assets, transferring real estate into your living trust, assigning financial accounts to the trust, ensuring personal property is included, life insurance and living trusts, business interests and your trust, overlooked assets and uncommon considerations, regular review and updating of your living trust, frequently asked questions.

Need to transfer assets to a living trust? This guide provides detailed, practical steps to re-title your assets and secure your estate’s future: Learn exactly how to transfer assets to a living trust, avoiding any unnecessary confusion or legalese.

A woman, man, and their two children smile and embrace one another. To safeguard your family after your death, consider transferring assets into a living trust.

  • A living trust is beneficial for avoiding probate, maintaining privacy in asset distribution, and providing long-term savings by minimizing legal and probate-related expenses.
  • Assets must be carefully prepared for transfer into a living trust, requiring an inventory of assets, legal ownership changes, and coordination with financial institutions and insurers.
  • Regularly reviewing and updating your living trust is crucial to ensure it reflects current life circumstances and asset distributions remain aligned with your intentions.

A revocable living trust is a legal mechanism that allows the transfer of assets to a trustee for management and eventual distribution to beneficiaries upon death or at a designated time. This process bypasses the often-time-consuming probate process, thereby maintaining confidentiality in asset distribution and offering asset protection.

Although the initial expense of establishing a living trust exceeds that of creating a will, it can result in substantial long-term savings through minimizing or eliminating costs associated with:

  • other related expenses

Investing in the establishment of a living trust is a pivotal move in creating a comprehensive estate plan, ultimately ensuring the preservation of your assets’ value for your heirs.

A woman wearing a wedding ring stands behind a seated man and embraces him.

Before you can enjoy the benefits of a living trust, there are necessary steps to take to prepare your assets for transfer. It’s crucial to classify your assets into four primary types:

  • Real property
  • Cash accounts
  • Financial instruments
  • Tangible personal property

To transfer ownership of these assets requires a change in legal ownership from your own name to the trust’s name, effectively funding the trust.

Assets eligible to be placed into a living trust include but not limited to:

  • Real estate
  • Financial accounts such as stocks and bonds
  • Life insurance policies
  • Business interests
  • A diverse array of personal property

Before beginning the process to transfer assets into a living trust, it’s vital to compile a detailed inventory of all assets intended for the living trust to avoid any oversights during the transition.

Moving real estate into your living trust is an integral part of the asset transfer process. This can be accomplished through the use of a deed, such as a quitclaim or warranty deed, which should be executed and recorded properly. Moreover, consulting with a title insurance company to verify the accuracy of the deed transfer is vital.

Deed preparation and execution

The process of transferring real estate to a living trust begins with deed preparation. This process includes locating the original property deed, acquiring a new deed, obtaining notarization for the new deed, and ultimately submitting the new deed to the relevant office for filing. If the property is part of a homeowners association, or if there’s a mortgage on the property, you may also need to obtain permission from the respective parties.

The execution of the quit claim deed often involves signing the deed in the presence of a notary, and subsequently recording it with the relevant government office to formalize the transfer. A quitclaim deed serves as a legal mechanism for transferring the property owner’s interest to the living trust.

Coordination with mortgage lender and insurance company

Alongside deed preparation and execution, coordinating with your mortgage lender and insurance company is a critical component of transferring real estate to a living trust. This coordination is essential to ensure proper documentation and coverage. It’s advisable to proactively seek approval from the mortgage holder before proceeding with the transfer.

Failing to inform a mortgage lender about transferring real estate into a living trust could potentially activate the acceleration clause, prompting the lender to demand immediate repayment of the mortgage. It’s also advisable to reach out to your insurance agent or broker, who will guide you through the process and provide any required documentation or information. Transferring a home into a living trust generally does not impact the homeowner’s insurance policy, but it’s crucial to add the trust as an ‘additional insured’ on the policy to ensure continued protection for the property.

A woman sits at a kitchen counter and takes notes on living trusts. Assigning financial accounts to the trust constitutes another vital step in the process of transferring assets to a living trust. .

Assigning financial accounts to the trust constitutes another vital step in the process of transferring assets to a living trust. This includes:

  • Bank accounts
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Health savings accounts
  • Other financial instruments

Bank accounts and brokerage accounts

Financial assets such as investments, bank accounts, money market accounts, or stock certificates can indeed be transferred to a living trust. This process involves reaching out to the relevant institutions and fulfilling any necessary paperwork. For instance, transferring bank accounts to a living trust involves either closing the current account and reopening a new one in the name of the trust or, in the case of CDs, waiting for them to mature and using the funds to open a new CD in the trust’s account.

Similarly, transferring a safe deposit box to a living trust can typically be accomplished without the necessity of closing and reopening the box. If your bank requests copies of the trust documents prior to opening accounts in the name of your trust, it is advisable to furnish the required copies to ensure compliance with the bank’s policies.

Handling retirement and medical savings accounts

Retirement and medical savings accounts have specific rules and restrictions when it comes to being transferred into living trusts. Transfers of individual retirement accounts may be treated as distributions by the IRS, potentially resulting in income tax obligations on the transferred amount.

The process of transferring retirement accounts into a living trust can be intricate and may not be suitable in certain circumstances. It is prudent to seek guidance from an estate planning attorney before proceeding.

It is generally not recommended to transfer retirement accounts such as 401(k), IRA, 403(b), and certain qualified annuities directly into a living trust. This is due to potential tax implications and complex regulations associated with these accounts. Instead, you can designate a successor trustee of your trust as a beneficiary for these accounts.

A man and woman sit on one side of a desk examining living trust documents while an estate planning attorney sits opposite them and explains.

The inclusion of personal property in your living trust is equally important as the transfer of real estate or financial accounts. This involves listing specific items and creating general assignments.

Specific items and general assignments

Personal property can be transferred to a living trust by specifically naming the items in the trust document and indicating that their ownership is being transferred to the trust. This includes categories of personal belongings such as:

  • collectibles
  • other tangible personal property

A general assignment within a living trust involves the transfer of ownership of a wide range of personal assets into the ownership form the trust. This allows for the inclusion of assets without title documents or assets that were not retitled, ultimately helping to bypass probate for those assets and ensuring they are governed by the trust.

Life insurance policies can play a unique role when it comes to living trusts. The transfer of a life insurance policy to a living trust involves transferring ownership of the policy to either another adult or the named beneficiary, or creating a trust and designating it as the beneficiary designation.

Contemplating the potential loss of creditor protection is crucial before proceeding with the transfer of a life insurance policy to a living trust. It is advisable to seek guidance from a legal professional or accountant in order to fully comprehend the potential tax implications.

Transferring business interests to a trust can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, including alleviating your family from the responsibility of your business debts and potentially minimizing the tax liability on your estate. Nevertheless, reviewing relevant business documents for guidance and transfer limitations, such as partnership agreements, operating agreements, or articles of incorporation, is crucial.

The process for transferring a business name between interests varies depending on the type of business. Here are some examples:

  • Transferring a partnership interest to a living trust may require obtaining approval in accordance with the terms of the partnership agreement or operating agreement.
  • Transferring business interests from an LLC owner to a living trust typically involves obtaining approval from a majority of owners.
  • Transferring a sole proprietorship into a living trust is usually straightforward as business assets are typically in the owner’s name, providing protection for the family from business liabilities.

Estate planning involves considering all types of assets, including those that are often overlooked or uncommon. Certain assets, like IRAs, are not eligible to be held by a trust, but they can be designated as a beneficiary. A pour-over will functions as a mechanism for transferring any remaining assets into a living trust upon the trustor’s death, although it does require undergoing probate proceedings.

When planning your estate, it’s important to consider whether to designate a trust as the primary or secondary beneficiary for accounts with beneficiary designations, such as savings accounts. This ensures that the assets within these accounts are properly managed and distributed according to the terms of the living trust.

Examples of commonly overlooked assets and less typical considerations include funeral trusts , sub-trusts for specific family scenarios, and different types of trusts, such as children’s trusts and generation-skipping trusts.

A woman in a wheelchair reads an iPad as a nurse stands behind her guiding the chair. Make sure to keep your living trust current and effective, responding to life events and changing circumstances.

The process doesn’t end once your living trust is established and funded. Continually reviewing and updating your living trust is necessary to keep it current and effective, responding to life events and changing circumstances.

It is advisable to review your trust at least annually or following any major life events such as:

  • the birth of a child
  • the death of a beneficiary

Changes in circumstances, such as shifts in your financial landscape or family dynamics, require revisions to the trust to accurately reflect your current situation and intentions for your estate.

The creation and maintenance of a living trust can be an effective strategy to ensure a smooth transition of your assets to your beneficiaries. Whether it’s real estate, financial accounts, personal property, life insurance policies, or business interests, a living trust provides a comprehensive solution for managing your estate. However, it’s vital to remember that this is an ongoing process that requires regular review and updates in response to life events and changes in circumstances.

How are assets transferred to a trust?

Assets can be transferred to a trust through methods like a deed of grantor(s) to trustee(s), title transfer, assignment of ownership, opening new accounts, naming the trust as a beneficiary, and more. Transferring assets to a trust can be done through various legal means, providing flexibility to the grantor.

What assets should not be in a trust?

You should not put assets like retirement accounts, health savings accounts, life insurance policies, and vehicles in a trust. These types of assets generally have cash value and should not go into a living trust.

What are disadvantages of putting property in trust?

Placing a property in trust can lead to extra paperwork and potential tax burdens. Additionally, not all trusts offer protection for other assets from creditors, as revocable trusts do not protect assets from creditors.

Are transfers to a trust taxable?

Transfers to a trust are not subject to income tax, including gifts to trusts and distributions of principal from trusts to beneficiaries. The gift tax and estate tax are the transfer taxes relevant to trusts.

What are the benefits of a living trust?

A living trust offers benefits such as bypassing probate, maintaining privacy, providing asset protection, and potentially offering tax benefits. Consider setting up a living trust to take advantage of these benefits.

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A General Assignment of Assets to one’s Living Trust can help avoid a Probate.

                 Re-titling assets, like stock and bonds, from one’s name into one’s living trust is necessary to avoiding an unnecessary probate of such assets if held outside of the trust.   Sometimes people fail to transfer some or all of their intended trust assets into their trust.   A general assignment of assets to one’s living trust provides an important safeguard. Let’s examine what a general assignment is and how it helps to fund one’s trust and avoid a probate with the help of a Lake County probate attorney:

                A general assignment of assets transfers ownership on a wide variety of assets as the name implies.   An all encompassing general assignment is regularly used by estate planners to transfer all types of financial assets (excluding tax deferred retirement accounts) and personal property (such as the contents of one’s home) into the trust. It is a half-step towards actually re-titling the securities and the financial accounts into the name of the trustee.   Nevertheless, the settlor should still proceed to contact the banks, brokerages, and stock transfer agents (as relevant) to formally transfer legal title into the name of the trustee.   But, in the event that the formal legal title is not transferred prior to death, the general assignment can be used to obtain a court order to transfer legal title into the trust.

                In Kucker v. Kucker , (2011), 192 CA 4 th , 90, the Court of Appeal reversed a trial court decision wherein the trial court disallowed a petition to transfer stocks into a trust based on a general assignment of all assets by the settlor to the trustee.   The Court of Appeal agreed with the petitioner that a general assignment of all or substantially all of the settlor’s assets into one’s trust does cause the stocks to be owned by the trustee.   An otherwise unnecessary probate was thus avoided thanks to a general assignment by the settlor.

                Similarly, a declaration of trust by a settlor to hold certain assets listed on a schedule of pledged assets attached to a trust document can likewise be used to accomplish the same result.   Most attorneys use a schedule of initial trust assets and a general assignment to reinforce one-another.   Moreover, unlike the general assignment, the schedule of trust assets will also include the real estate – together with a full legal description — for the same reason.   That is, if a trust transfer deed is not properly executed prior to the settlor’s death, then the schedule of initial trust assets to a declaration of trust can be used to petition the court to transfer legal title into the trust without a probate.

                While the general assignment and the declaration of trust are important safeguards against the failure to formally transfer title to trust assets while the settlor is still alive and competent, such safeguards are just safeguards.   The better course of action is to see that one’s real estate, stocks and bonds, and financial accounts (and other trust assets) are properly titled in the name of the trustee of one’s trust.   After all, filing a court petition entails further expenses and delay in the administration of the trust that can be avoided.   

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How to Transfer Business Interests into a Trust

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After you create a trust, your next step is to transfer your assets into your trust. But what if you own a business interest? Should you transfer that into your trust too? Transferring business interests into a trust can be complicated, but here’s an overview of the basics.

Why Transfer Business Interests into a Trust?

Some people who create a trust choose to transfer their business interests into it for the following reasons: 

  • Avoiding Probate: Just like any other asset, business interests that exceed the California probate threshold can trigger a lengthy, expensive, and public probate proceeding. Assets that are placed in a trust do not need to be probated.
  • Incapacity Planning: A trust ensures that your business can continue operating not only upon your death, but also if you become incapacitated due to an accident or illness. If your business interests are placed in a trust and you become incapacitated, your successor trustee can immediately take over your duties to keep your business operating during your absence. 

What to Know Before Transferring Assets

Before transferring your business interests into a trust, you should always consult an experienced estate planning attorney . Depending on what kind of business interest you own, they can help ensure that this transfer won’t violate a corporation’s bylaws, an LLC operating agreement, or a shareholders’ buy-sell agreement. 

Your attorney can also draft a trust that specifically grants the trustee powers to manage your business. Each type of business interest has its own requirements so working with an attorney is key to avoiding any potential missteps. 

How to Transfer a Business Interest into a Trust 

The process for transferring your business interest into a trust varies depending on what kind of business interest you own and how it was set up. Here are a few of the most common types. 

Sole Proprietorship

In a sole proprietorship, you are the only business owner. Because of this, you do not need the agreement or permission of anyone else to transfer your business interest into your trust. You would simply assign your business assets and interests into the trust. This is accomplished with an Assignment of Interest agreement. Just like it sounds, this agreement assigns your interests into your trust so that it becomes a trust asset. 

Corporations

If you own stock or shares in a corporation, you should contact the corporation and fill out any necessary documents to transfer your stock or shares to a trust. Often this document is called an “Assignment of Stock”. Submit this document to the corporation and have them file it. 

Next, the corporation will re-issue you new stock documents listing the trust as the owner. Check with your corporation on any additional terms or conditions when making trust transfers. 

LLC or General or Limited Partnership

When it comes to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a general or limited partnership, you may own a complete or only a partial interest in the business. You’ll want to first review the terms and conditions of your LLC or partnership agreement to review the requirements for transferring your portion into a trust. If there are other partners, they may need to vote on and approve the change.

Next, seek counsel from your attorney on the best way to transfer your portion of the business into your trust. This will vary, depending on how your business was set up. For an LLC, you may need to execute an “Assignment of Interest”, notify your partners, and sign a document agreeing to the change. For a partnership, you may need to change your partnership ownership certificate to you as the owner of the share. 

When transferring business interests into a trust, an experienced estate planning attorney can provide legal advice on how to best achieve your goals. If you have any questions about transferring business interests into a trust, feel free to contact our law firm.

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The Law Offices of Daniel A. Hunt is a California law firm specializing in Estate Planning; Trust Administration & Litigation; Probate; and Conservatorships. We've helped over 10,000 clients find peace of mind. We serve clients throughout the greater Sacramento region and the state of California.

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Stock Assignment Separate from Certificate Transferring Stock to Revocable Trust | Practical Law

assignment of shares to trust

Stock Assignment Separate from Certificate Transferring Stock to Revocable Trust

Practical law standard document w-036-2266  (approx. 9 pages).

assignment of shares to trust

Why It Is Important to Assign Shares to Family Trusts

Most of our clients probably have family trusts. Yet 99% of the 20,000 entities in our system are not owned by trusts, but by the individuals who formed the entities. We want to take this break from our regularly scheduled programming to remind our clients that if you have a trust, you can only realize its full benefit by insuring that all of your assets, including shares in corporations and membership interests in LLCs, are transferred to the trust.

The benefits of establishing a trust for estate-planning purposes are well documented and include avoiding probate to save time and money and to keep estate matters private. [1] But these benefits are lost if the trust is not properly “funded,” that is, if the assets of the person establishing the trust (known as the “settlor”) are not transferred into the trust before his or her death. As one estate-planning practitioner has explained,

[t]he most important step is funding the trust. It is an estate planning attorney’s imperative to communicate to clients the importance of funding the inter vivos trust [2] during the life of the settlors. A well-funded inter vivos trust does not typically require court oversight; however, a trust that has not been fully funded may require court petitions in order to transfer property into the trust after the death of the settlor, defeating the purposes of avoiding probate . [3]

In other words, the settlor’s property (including corporate shares and LLC membership interests) has to be in the trust in order for the advantages of the trust, including maintaining privacy, to be realized.

Although there are ways of getting property into a trust after the settlor has died, none of these options desirable. In particular, most estate plans involving the creation of a trust also call for the execution of a “pour-over will.” A pour-over will provides that all of the decedent’s “forgotten assets,” that is, those assets that were not successfully transferred to the trust during the settlor’s lifetime for whatever reason, should be paid to the trust. [4] The problem is that a pour-over will, like any other will, is ineffective until it has been probated, [5] which defeats the probate-avoidance purpose of establishing a trust.

Most states also have a small estate exemption that can be used to avoid probate for some amount of a settlor’s forgotten assets that did not make it into the trust before the settlor died. It is unwise, however, to rely on the small estate exemption as a post hoc method of funding a trust for various reasons, including the hassle and expense involved and, more importantly, the limited nature of the exemption. In New York, for example, a “small estate” is defined as the estate of a person who dies leaving personal property having a gross value of $30,000 or less, exclusive of various enumerated items, including “marketable securities” and other “money” not exceeding $25,000 in value. [6] Corporate shares and LLC membership interests are personal property, [7] but are probably not marketable securities in the context of the type of closely held corporation or LLC with just a few members that we are talking about here. So any corporation or LLC having a modest value of more than $30,000 will bust the small estate exemption. The limit is higher in California—$150,000—but that includes real and personal property in the state and provides for fewer excluded items than in New York, [8] so again the small estate exemption should not be relied on in California as a probate-avoidance technique.

Why are some assets “forgotten” when it comes time to fund a trust? One commentator in the area suggests that

the most common reason for the settlor’s failure to transfer property to his or her revocable trust is a simple lack of information regarding the necessity that they do so. A large portion of individuals who execute revocable trusts do not understand how the trusts work or how they “avoid probate.” Correspondingly, they are unaware of the requirement that they transfer their property to the trust. Moreover, estate planning attorneys generally do not assist their clients with transferring assets to their trust and may not even mention the need to do so to the client. Although the process of transferring most assets to a revocable trust is not complicated, it may be somewhat daunting for a lay-person. [9]

The process of transferring shares to a trust is incredibly easy. We prepare two documents (an Assignment Separate From Certificate and a new share certificate) and then update the stock ledger.

But you have to know to ask. And given that almost all of the shares in our system are individually owned, even though a majority of our clients probably have family trusts to, among other things, achieve privacy in their estate planning, it appears that many of our clients simply do not know to request that shareholding or membership interests in the businesses we form or maintain for them be assigned to their trusts, rather than to themselves individually, [10] which is why we wrote this article.

[1] See, e.g., David J. Feder & Robert H. Sitkoff, Revocable Trusts and Incapacity Planning: More Than Just A Will Substitute , 24 Elder L.J. 1, 16 (2016) (“Unlike a will, which upon probate becomes a public record, a revocable trust need not be filed with a court unless a dispute arises. So there is a privacy advantage to a revocable trust relative to a will, one that persists even in a state that has reformed probate to make it cheaper and faster.” (footnote omitted)); Bradley E.S. Fogel, Trust Me? Estate Planning with Revocable Trusts , 58 St. Louis U. L.J. 805, 817 (2014 ) (“Revocable trusts are quite effective at maintaining the privacy of an individual’s estate plan after his or her death.”); Frances H. Foster, Trust Privacy, 93 Cornell L. Rev. 555, 557 (2008) (“[R]evocable trusts, including those that continue for decades after the settlor’s death, are private.”).

[2] “Inter vivos trust” is merely the technical term for a trust that “is created during the [settlor’s] lifetime and becomes effective upon creation.” Aastha Madaan, The Basics of Inter Vivos Trusts , 33 No. 4 GPSolo 20, 21 (July/Aug 2016).

[3] Madaan, supra note 2, at 23 (emphasis added).

[4] Fogel, supra note 1, at 810.

[5] Id. at 811.

[6] See N.Y. Surr. Ct. Proc. Act Law § 1301(1) ; N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 5-3.1(a) .

[7] See, e.g. , Cal. Corp. Code § 17705.01 ; N.Y. Ltd. Liab. Co. Law § 601 .

[8] See Cal. Prob. Code § 13100 .

[9] Fogel, supra note 1, at 813 (footnotes omitted).

[10] There is one caveat in that a trust may not own every type of corporate stock or LLC interest. For example, in California, shares of capital stock in a professional corporation may be issued only to a person who is licensed to render the same professional services offered by the corporation. See Cal. Corp. Code § 13406(a) .

assignment of shares to trust

Owning Shares Through a Trust

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By Sophie Mao Practice Leader

Updated on July 19, 2023 Reading time: 5 minutes

This article meets our strict editorial principles. Our lawyers, experienced writers and legally trained editorial team put every effort into ensuring the information published on our website is accurate. We encourage you to seek independent legal advice. Learn more .

What is a Trust?

Disadvantages, how to hold your shares through a trust, how to move shares into your trust, tax consequences, key takeaways, frequently asked questions.

Whether you are a founder of a business, an investor in a company or an employee who owns shares in a company, the shares you own can be a very valuable asset. It is, therefore, important to consider how you hold those shares to protect them and effectively manage any financial returns you receive from them. One of the most common methods of holding shares in a company is through a discretionary trust. This article will explain the advantages and disadvantages of owning shares through a trust and how to hold and transfer shares to your trust.

A trust is a legal arrangement where a trustee holds and manages assets for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries. A trustee can consist of one or more individuals. Alternatively, a trust can also be managed by a company. The trustee who is in charge of managing the trust, in this case, is known as a ‘ corporate trustee ‘.

The most common type of trust which people will use to hold their shares is a discretionary trust. These are often referred to as ‘ family trusts ‘. Discretionary trusts allow the trustee to have discretion in how they distribute trust income between the beneficiaries. Another type of trust is a ‘unit trust’, where the beneficiaries have a specific or fixed entitlement to receive trust income.

There are many reasons why it can be useful to hold your shares through a trust , including for: 

  • tax planning; 
  • tax benefits; 
  • ease of succession; and 
  • asset protection. 

Tax Planning 

Any income you receive from shares you personally own will be taxed at your personal marginal tax rate.

However, with a discretionary trust, the trustee can distribute income to the beneficiaries at its discretion. This means that if the trust’s beneficiaries include members of your family with a lower marginal tax rate, the trustee can distribute any income derived from your shares to lower tax-paying members of your family. This is beneficial because it allows you to minimise the overall tax payable on income received from your shares.

Tax Benefits 

If your trust holds shares for a minimum of 12 months, it may be eligible for the 50% capital gains tax (‘CGT’) discount . This discount can be beneficial you sell your shares. The CGT discount is also available if the holder of shares is an individual. However, the CGT discount is not available to companies.

Ease of Succession 

Another benefit of using a discretionary trust to hold shares is that you can pass the control of a discretionary trust to the next generation without triggering tax consequences. This will also be the same for any assets the trust owns. However, if a shareholder is an individual, transferring shares to someone else requires you to sell them to the new owner, which triggers tax consequences.

Asset Protection 

Finally, having a trust allows a degree of separation between assets owned by you and assets owned by your trust.

For example, shares owned by your trust may be better protected from creditors’ claims than those owned by you personally.

Indeed, this degree of separation will be the case, especially if your trust has a corporate trustee.

Setting up a trust can have an additional administrative and financial burden. You will need to establish the trust itself and pay for the upkeep. For example, this could mean having an accountant assist you with the trust’s tax returns each year. 

You should also be aware of the limits on tax planning through a trust. For example, tax income distributed to minors will generally be taxed at the highest marginal tax rate. The trustee will also be liable to pay tax at the highest marginal rate on any income that is undistributed at the end of the financial year.

Broadly, holding shares gives you a portion of ownership in a company. For example, you and three other friends might decide to start a company and divide ownership equally. If there are 100 shares available, you and each friend will receive 25 shares. Normally, you might sell those shares in the future. Another option is to hold shares through a trust in your capacity as a ‘trustee’.

If you are being issued or transferred shares and you want those shares to be held by your trust, you will need to: 

  • inform the company that you will be holding your shares through a trust; and 
  • provide the company with your trust’s details. 

The shareholder of the shares will be the trustee ‘as trustee for’ the trust. This is because a trustee holds assets on behalf of the trust. The phrase ‘as trustee for’ is often abbreviated to ‘ATF’.

For example, if you:

  • are the trustee of your trust, the shareholder of your shares will be ‘Jane Smith ATF Smith Family Trust’. 
  • have a corporate trustee, the shareholder of your shares will be ‘Smith Pty Ltd ACN 123 456 789 ATF Smith Family Trust’.

The company’s internal records (primarily its ‘ register of members ‘), ASIC records and share certificate will reflect the fact that the trustee is the shareholder of your shares. The company will also record in its register of members and on ASIC that the trustee holds its shares’ non-beneficially’. This is because the trustee holds the shares for the benefit of the trust, not for itself.

If you want any existing shares you own to be held by your trust instead, you will need to transfer those shares to your trust. 

You will need to inform the company that you intend to transfer your shares to your trust. This is so that the company can: 

  • update its register of members; 
  • issue you with a new share certificate reflecting that your trust now holds your shares; and
  • notify ASIC of the change. 

If the company you own shares in has documents that govern it (e.g. a company constitution and shareholders agreement), this may affect the process of transferring shares. Often a company’s constitution or shareholders agreement will require that shareholders first offer shares to other company shareholders for purchase before transferring them to a third party. This is because of shareholders’ ‘pre-emptive rights’. If this is the case, the other shareholders will have to waive their pre-emptive rights before you can transfer your shares to your trust. 

However, the company’s constitution or shareholders agreement may include an exemption that allows you to transfer your shares to your trust without having to offer those shares to other shareholders first because the trust is considered your ‘affiliate’.

Whenever you transfer shares, including to your trust, there may be capital gains tax (CGT) consequences. If the shares you are transferring to your trust are of high value, you should seek tax advice to understand whether the immediate tax consequences of transferring shares to your trust outweigh any long-term advantages.

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Owning shares in a company through a discretionary trust is very common and can have many advantages. Specifically, if you own shares through a trust, it will allow for greater tax planning flexibility than if you were to own them purely in your individual capacity. Furthermore, you may be entitled to capital gains tax. The ease of succession and asset protection is also far greater through a trust. However, setting one up can be a financial and logistical burden. Therefore, it is important to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages and consider whether it would be useful in your personal circumstances.

If you have questions about holding shares through a trust, our experienced business lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 1300 544 755 or visit our  membership page .

A trust is a legal arrangement where a trustee holds and manages assets for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries. A trust deed will typically govern the rules of the trust. There are different kinds of trusts, like fixed trusts, unit trusts, discretionary trusts, and charitable trusts, among others. For tax purposes, holding assets on trust can be beneficial.

The trustee of a discretionary trust can distribute income to beneficiaries who have a lower marginal income tax rate. This will minimise your shares’ overall tax liabilities. Additionally, if your trust holds the shares for at least 12 months, a capital gains tax discount may apply.

You will need to inform the company issuing the shares that you will be holding them through a trust and also provide your trust’s details. This is necessary to ensure the company’s internal records reflect this change.

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Transferring bank or holding company stock to a trust.

June 1, 2012

assignment of shares to trust

Individuals who own shares of bank holding company (or bank) stock often consider transferring such shares to a trust for estate planning purposes. Since a trust is a separate entity, a transfer of bank or bank holding company shares to a trust can raise issues under the Bank Holding Company Act (BHC Act) and/or the Change in Bank Control Act (CIBC Act).

BHC Act Considerations

If the Federal Reserve finds that a trust is being operated as a business trust, it will be considered a “company” as defined by the BHC Act and potentially a bank holding company, depending on the number of shares it plans to acquire. Usually, individuals want to avoid a determination that a trust is a “company” due to increased regulatory compliance.

Generally, a trust is presumed not to be a “company” if the trust:

  • Terminates within 21 years and 10 months after the death of grantors or beneficiaries of the trust living on the effective date of the trust or within 25 years;
  • Is a testamentary or inter vivos trust established by an individual or individuals for the benefit of a relative, “exempt” charitable organization, or themselves (unless they are the sole beneficiary of the trust);
  • Contains only assets previously owned by the individual or individuals who established the trust;
  • Is not a Massachusetts business trust; and
  • Does not issue shares, certificates, or any other evidence of ownership.

In addition to these factors, the Federal Reserve reviews the nature and value of assets in the trust as well as whether the trust engages directly or indirectly through ownership in any business activities to help determine if it is being operated as a business trust.

CIBC Act Considerations

Any person acquiring control of a bank holding company or state member bank must give prior notice to the Federal Reserve. This requirement applies to trusts and their trustees. A notice under the CIBC Act will be required when the proposed ownership is 25 percent or higher or 10 percent or higher and no other shareholder controls more shares.

The Board of Governors has an exception to those requirements for certain transfers to testamentary trusts if the following factors are met:

  • The beneficiaries are members of the grantor’s immediate family;
  • The trust terminates upon the death of the grantor or within 21 years and 10 months after the death of individuals living on the effective date of the trust;
  • The trust contains only banking assets;
  • The trust contains assets from only one grantor;
  • The trust does not have shares, certificates, or any other evidence of ownership;
  • The trust has a sole trustee, who is usually the grantor;
  • The trust is revocable; and
  • The trust is not a Massachusetts business trust.

Because a trust’s status under the BHC Act and CIBC Act requires a close review of the trust instrument and its assets, we encourage individuals to contact staff of the Applications section prior to transferring shares to a trust. We can then decide if the circumstances warrant a review of the trust to determine whether any issues are raised under either the BHC Act or the CIBC Act. Our contact information is available here .

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LIVING TRUST

The assignment of personal items to trust.

By John Stevens, J.D.

assignment of shares to trust

  • How to Fund a Living Trust With Royalties

A living trust is a legal entity that holds property for the benefit of someone other than the person who created the trust. The process of transferring property into a trust varies depending on the type of property. For example, transferring a house into a trust calls for a process that is different than transferring a bank account. The process of transferring personal items into a trust is a comparatively straightforward one that is accomplished with a document typically called an "assignment of personal property."

Inventorying Personal Items

It is important to take an inventory of your personal items to determine which items you want to transfer into your trust. Generally, it is sufficient to list items using only general terms, such as “household furniture, furnishings, appliances and clothing.” You should specifically identify each individual personal item that is valuable, such as jewelry, antiques and collectibles. If you intend to leave a specific item to a specific beneficiary in your trust document, you should also describe that item with enough particularity so your successor trustee can easily identify it.

Assignment of Tangible Personal Property

Remember that you are transferring ownership of your personal items from yourself, as an individual, to yourself in your capacity as trustee of your trust. Begin your assignment document with language stating that you transfer your entire interest in the “following described items” to your trust. Use the name of the trust exactly as it appears on your trust document. For example, this language might read, “I, Mary Johnson, hereby transfer my entire interest in the following described property to The Mary Johnson Trust.” List those items you identified from your inventory after this introductory language. You must now include language stating that you, as the trustee of your trust, agree to accept the personal items into the trust. This language might read, “I, Mary Johnson, trustee, hereby agree to the above assignment.” Because you are acting in your dual capacity as an individual and as the trustee, you must sign the assignment document twice. First, sign your name as you usually do. Second, sign your name, followed by the word “trustee.”

Adding Property to the Trust in the Future

The vast majority of trusts allow the person who created the trust to add property to the trust in the future. So long as you are mentally competent, you are free to do so at any time. Consider contacting an attorney if you are unsure whether you have the power to add items. If you acquire an item that falls within one of the general category descriptions, such as “clothing” or “furniture,” there is no need to make a change. If you acquire an item that does not fall within one of those general categories, such as a new valuable painting, you must create a new assignment form and list that item individually. Read More: Who Can Sign a Deed Transferring Property Owned by a Trust for the Trustee?

Special Considerations with Corporate Trustees

The person or entity in charge of a living trust upon its creation is called the “initial trustee.” The person or entity that assumes administration of the trust upon the death or incapacity of the initial trustee is called the “successor trustee.” If you name a corporate trustee, such as a bank, to serve as the initial or successor trustee, you should contact that business before transferring personal items to your trust. Some corporate trustees are not willing to handle the transfers of personal items because of the liability risk associated with such property. Unlike with titled property, such as a house or bank account, personal items can easily be carried away or hidden. A corporate trustee may not be willing to deal with the possibility of a lawsuit from disgruntled family members who contend that a valuable coin collection that was stored within your home, for example, has suddenly gone missing. If the corporate trustee objects to handling personal property, ask the trustee whether it would handle the property if you exempted the trustee from liability with respect to those items.

  • Funding a Revocable Trust; Continuing Education of the Bar

John Stevens has been a writer for various websites since 2008. He holds an Associate of Science in administration of justice from Riverside Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School. Stevens is a lawyer and licensed real-estate broker.

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Q&A: Transferring Shares to a Trust

Q&A: Transferring Shares to a Trust

 —Interested Shareholders  

 “In addition, there are issues such as service of process; maintenance  collection; proxy voting and uncontrolled occupation of the unit which may make  trust ownership problematic for the co-op board.  

 “Many co-ops have found ways to overcome these problems. The easiest way to do  this is to have the current shareholder and the trustee of the trust sign an  agreement at the time of transfer which in effect requires the current  shareholder to be the only occupant of the unit and the guarantor of the  maintenance. Of course, this document should be drawn by the cooperative's attorney and  approved by the board of directors.”  

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How to Transfer Co-Op Shares into a Trust

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Are you an executor or trustee?

Want to get organized, want to offer estate planning, need a will or trust, understanding trusts and co-op shares.

A trust, as a legal entity, can hold various types of assets - from tangible ones like real estate to financial assets like shares. When discussing co-op shares, these refer to the ownership interest in a cooperative housing corporation. You own shares instead of the actual property, and these shares entitle you to occupy a specific unit in the co-operative. Transferring co-op shares into a trust can provide various benefits like asset protection, tax advantages, and bypassing probate.

Why Transfer Co-Op Shares into a Trust

Transferring your co-op shares into a trust offers a legal shield for your assets, safeguards against potential liabilities, and ensures a smoother transition of assets after death. It also offers privacy, as the details of the trust need not be made public. Moreover, a trust can provide potential tax benefits, depending on the type of trust you establish.

Setting Up a Trust for Co-Op Shares

  • Decide on the type of trust: Whether revocable or irrevocable, each type of trust has its pros and cons, and the choice depends on your unique circumstances.
  • Select a trustee: The trustee is the person who will manage the trust and make decisions regarding the assets.
  • Prepare the trust document: This legal document sets out the details of the trust, including who the beneficiaries are, and how the assets should be managed and distributed.
  • Transfer the co-op shares: The shares are moved from your personal ownership to the trust.

Process of Transferring Co-Op Shares into a Trust

  • Obtain approval from the Co-Op Board: Many co-ops have specific rules about transferring shares into a trust, and you'll likely need to obtain approval from the board.
  • Appraise the shares: Determine the value of your co-op shares. This is essential for tax purposes and for setting up the trust.
  • Create a new share certificate: The co-op corporation will issue a new share certificate in the name of the trust.
  • Update your lease: If your co-op has a proprietary lease, it will need to be updated to reflect the trust as the new shareholder.
  • Document the transfer: Ensure all steps of the transfer are documented correctly for legal purposes.

Seek Professional Help

Given the complexity of transferring co-op shares into a trust, it's advisable to seek legal or financial advice. Professionals can guide you through the process and ensure all legal requirements are met, reducing the chance of disputes in the future.

While transferring co-op shares into a trust may seem like a daunting task, it is a beneficial strategy for managing and protecting your assets. With careful planning and the right professional advice, you can ensure a successful transfer that serves your financial goals and provides peace of mind.

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How to Build — and Maintain — Relationships with Your Shareholders

Learn how to communicate with your investors to meet their needs — without needing to change your strategy.

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Does your company have a strategy for working with investors?

Whether your company is big or small, IBM’s former CEO Sam Palmisano says it’s essential to build relationships with your shareholders before there’s a specific problem to address.

In this episode, you’ll learn how to communicate with your investors to meet their needs — without needing to change your strategy. When Palmisano was leading IBM, he offered investors detailed multi-year projections of revenue growth, rather than quarterly outlooks. This approach helped to keep the company’s focus on the long term. As he describes, “We needed to give [investors] something that worked for us and our management system and our strategy, but also was simpler and clearer so they could decide what investments they would like to make.”

You’ll also learn how Palmisano approached his role as CEO in shareholder meetings in order to send the right message to both shareholders and employees.

Key episode topics include: strategy, leadership, growth, growth strategy, economics, investors, Wall Street, shareholders, IBM.

HBR On Strategy curates the best case studies and conversations with the world’s top business and management experts, to help you unlock new ways of doing business. New episodes every week.

  • Listen to the full HBR IdeaCast episode: How to Manage Wall Street (2014)
  • Find more episodes of HBR IdeaCast
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HANNAH BATES: Welcome to HBR On Strategy , case studies and conversations with the world’s top business and management experts, hand-selected to help you unlock new ways of doing business. Does your company have a strategy for working with Wall Street?  Whether your company is big or small, IBM’s former CEO Sam Palmisano says it’s essential to build relationships with your shareholders before there’s a specific problem to address. In this episode you’ll learn how to communicate with your investors to meet their needs without changing your strategy. For instance, when Palmisano was leading IBM, he offered investors detailed multi-year projections of revenue growth, rather than quarterly outlooks because he wanted to keep the company’s focus on the longer term. You’ll also learn how Palmisano carefully considered his role as CEO in meetings with investors in order to send the right messages to IBM shareholders and his employees. This episode originally aired on HBR IdeaCast in May 2014.  And just a note — we recorded this by phone. While the audio quality is not  great, the conversation is. I think you’ll enjoy it. Here it is.

JUSTIN FOX: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Justin Fox, and I’m talking today with Sam Palmisano, the former CEO of IBM. I did an interview with Sam for the June issue of HBR, titled “Managing Investors.” He also has a new book out, Re-think: A Path to the Future. Sam, welcome to IdeaCast .

SAM PALMISANO: Justin, thank you for having me.

JUSTIN FOX: Sam, I came to your office a couple months ago to interview for our magazine about the challenges, as a CEO, of dealing with Wall Street. And I kind of expected you to gripe a lot. But you didn’t. Why not?

SAM PALMISANO: Well, I think, quite honestly, Justin, maybe in my early years as a CEO, I would have been complaining. But I kind of came to the conclusion over time that fundamentally, Wall Street and the investor are your owners. And you need to come up with a strategy to work, as best you can, with the investment community.

JUSTIN FOX: And early on, as CEO, was that a problem?

SAM PALMISANO: Well, I think quite honestly, as I learned, it was an IBM problem, not necessarily Wall Street’s problem. We were too confusing– to them. And so therefore, we found we needed to give them something that worked for us and our management system and our strategy, but also was simpler and clearer so they could decide what investments they would like to make.

JUSTIN FOX: So, what did you give them?

SAM PALMISANO: Well, fundamentally, I was opposed to doing short-term outlooks– quarterly forecast down to $100 million of revenue or a penny a share, et cetera, et cetera. I was against that, primarily because I felt that it sent the wrong signal to the company and to the people in the company relative to what we needed to work on for the long term. So, we came up with a model that was multi-year. We rolled it out in 2006 with a target of 2010. But we gave them specifics, so they could see how much was going to be revenue growth, how much would be acquisitions, productivity, how much would be share buyback, et cetera. So they could look at the model, and we were at $6 at that point in time. We said we would take it to $10 by 2010. And we overachieved and did that by 2009.

JUSTIN FOX: That’s earnings per share, right?

SAM PALMISANO: It’s– I’m sorry. Earnings per share, correct. Exactly. But it was something that was long enough for us– four years was a reasonable time frame for what we needed to do– and also, was clear enough for the investor to decide whether they would participate in the company or not, or just go invest elsewhere.

JUSTIN FOX: And you started doing regular meetings with your biggest investors, right?

SAM PALMISANO: Yes, we did, Justin. That’s Correct. What we decided to do– we had a long discussion internally. Once we get comfortable with this roadmap, we had a long discussion. And it went along the lines, well, if we had an activist involved, what would we do. And I said, well, we of course would meet with the activists and go through our strategies and solicit their input. So, I persuaded with my team that If we would do that for an activist, why shouldn’t we do that for our larger shareholder? So, we kicked off meetings with the large shareholders, and some of the mid-tier shareholders. But we have a couple of those at one time. We tried to do that in the middle of a quarter, when we weren’t in a period of– quiet period, around earnings and those sorts of things.

JUSTIN FOX: And your biggest shareholders are mutual fund companies– people like that?

SAM PALMISANO: Berkshire Hathaway is the largest. Cap World and other funds probably are number two today– although I’m out of date. I’ve been retired for a couple years. But you’d have Fidelity. You’d have Wellington. You’d have T. Rowe Price. A lot of the large institutional investors were the biggest shareholders of IBM.

JUSTIN FOX: And Berkshire came in right at the end of your tenure, right?

SAM PALMISANO: That’s correct– my last year.

JUSTIN FOX: And that was, to some extent, a reward for your whole plan having worked out pretty well.

SAM PALMISANO: Now, Ginni’s spent a lot of time speaking with Warren after he went public on the investment. So, I spoke with him briefly, but she was the new CEO. We all agreed that she should go make the introductions, spend more time with him than me, since I was leaving. But the point was that he understood– I mean, he never invested in tech, historically. But he understood the model. He understood the balance sheet. He understood cash flows. He viewed us as a very shareholder friendly company. And that’s why he made an investment in a tech company, which heretofore, Warren never did. And he stated publicly, he didn’t understand technology. And that’s why he didn’t invest in it.

JUSTIN FOX: When you think about the regular relationship between CEOs and CFOs and Wall Street, the thing that comes up is those conference calls, quarterly conference calls the companies do. IBM does those conference calls, right?

SAM PALMISANO: I mean, we sort of have to, right? You announce earnings, you have to have a call. And it’s mostly the sell side on the call. But the investor and the buy side do listen in.

JUSTIN FOX: But are you ever on those calls?

SAM PALMISANO: No, I never did those, my entire time as a CEO.

JUSTIN FOX: And was that matter of principle, or?

SAM PALMISANO: Well, it was back to– we had a large shareholder meeting in the spring, which I believe IBM still does. And it’d be well-attended from both the buy side and the sell side. And the most of the questions, at least in the large audience, would come from the sell side, similar to a quarterly call. I just felt that, it was the– again, back to the tone, it would set internally within the organization, And? If I was going to spend the time on that call, it would set the impression that the most important thing we were doing in the company was a quarterly outlook, which I mean, clearly, we perform. So the stock– I think I started, it was the 80’s and I left when it was around 200. So you take that plus share buyback and dividend, we created over $140 billion of shareholder value. So there were lots of ways to create shareholder value other than doing quarterly conference calls as you announce earnings.

JUSTIN FOX: You had one thing going for you on that decision, which is that your predecessor, Lou Gerstner, didn’t do those calls either, right?

SAM PALMISANO: Yeah, that’s a good point, Justin. I never faced a situation where Lou did it. So I wasn’t under the gun, or I wasn’t breaking the pattern. I think it’s harder if you take over as a new CEO, and your predecessor did the quarterly call, it’s much more difficult to stop, because you signal something. It’s probably never which you intended, but it’s not a positive signal to the investor if you stop doing the call if your processor had done them.

JUSTIN FOX: Because it is amazingly to me, just how many CEOs do those calls. But to move on, your approach– this model and the way you communicated with investors– is this something that you think can work for any company? Or was there something particular about IBM that made that appropriate?

SAM PALMISANO: You know, we were one of the first– I think, we were the first to do it. We couldn’t find anybody else was doing it at the time, anyway– or at least a large cap company. We couldn’t find anybody had taken that approach. So we kind of came up with our own model. I believe it can be done. You have to do a lot of work to understand clearly one, where you’ll be in time– I mean, because you’re making lots of investments along the way. And then secondarily, how you can explain that to an investor so it relates to the things that they consider important from an investment strategy. This approach will never appeal to a money manager who’s just trading stocks, or a fast trader, what have you. It’s not that type of a strategy. So, it’s not going to appeal to people that take a very short-term orientation. However, it does appeal to a long-term investor. So, you need to one, figure out your business. Are you comfortable with going four or five years out? And secondarily, will that work with the people who own your shares? Now, those two things converged for IBM. I don’t know they would converge for everyone. If you have a high multiple on your stock, a high P/E ratio, you have a lot of momentum players in there. They’re probably not going to care about your long-term cash flow models. However, if you have a more reasonable valuation, you have longer term investors, those things become very important.

JUSTIN FOX: Now, one phenomenon that existed when you were CEO, but seems to be an even bigger deal now, is hedge fund activists who come in and say they’re not happy with the direction management is taking. Do you think that’s a bad thing, a good thing?

SAM PALMISANO: I’d say it depends. It can be disruptive if the approach that the activist takes is once that’s more personalized and not necessarily one that represents the collective thinking of the shareholder. However, the other side of that argument is that if the activist is really just talking about capital allocation and return to the shareholder, and takes an orientation, which is, hey, guys, you’re sitting on a lot of cash. Why don’t you give something back to the shareholder? There are lots of ways to create value other than just doing large acquisitions or strictly driving only the top line. There are other financial models that are relevant to us, and let’s discuss capital allocation. And then, a lot of times, if you stand back from the rhetoric or from the media coverage and you analyze what some of the activists are really discussing or pushing for, it really is capital allocation.

JUSTIN FOX: Which is something you think CEOs should be thinking hard about anyway.

SAM PALMISANO: I mean, at the end of the day, the CEO and the board work for the shareholder. And if capital allocation is in the interest of all your shareholders, not just one vocal shareholder, then clearly, you should be respectful of that and listen to their input. As I say, listen to their input, you’ll get divergent points of view, whether its dividend or share buyback or acquisition. But we found it helpful– at least I did, personally as a CEO– to listen to the large shareholder. In fact, even within the firm, their portfolio managers will take a different perspective. Some will want dividend. Some will want share buyback. But it was a worthwhile discussion for us to have. And then we could pass our own judgment as to what was the right mix, where we needed cash flexibility, a like and a like, or should we do this kind of acquisition versus another. But we did that– I mean, obviously not sharing information that was inside information. But we did in a way that helped, at least, shaped my thinking. And I think Mark Loughridge, our CFO, would say the same thing. They really were helpful in getting us to think through the elements of cash flow and balance sheet and how to best return the earnings and the gains to the shareholder.

JUSTIN FOX: But your book, Re-think, is– it’s a description of this idea of the global enterprise. But it’s also the story of how you went from this guy from Baltimore to the head of a global enterprise.

SAM PALMISANO: Well, that’s right. Well, you know, they needed color. The author– my co-author, this guy Matt Rees– said we have to have some color in here or people are going to find it so boring if you’re just talking about corporations and globalization and business process. I mean, it’s going to be really dull. So, I compromised for the first time in my 40 years in business. I said I’ll talk about myself. But I only did it for one chapter and that was that. So, I’m not big on talking about myself. I guess you probably sense that.

JUSTIN FOX: Sam, thank you so much for talking to us and not just listening.

SAM PALMISANO: You’re welcome. You know, it would be quite boring if I just listened and you did all the talking, right, Justin?

JUSTIN FOX: Right.

HANNAH BATES: That was Sam Palmisano in conversation with Justin Fox on the HBR IdeaCast . Palmisano is the author of the book Re-think: A Path to the Future .  We’ll be back next Wednesday with another hand-picked conversation about business strategy from the Harvard Business Review. If you found this episode helpful, share it with your friends and colleagues, and follow our show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. While you’re there, be sure to leave us a review. We’re a production of the Harvard Business Review. If you want more podcasts, articles, case studies, books, and videos like this, find it all at HBR dot org. This episode was produced by Anne Saini, and me, Hannah Bates. Ian Fox is our editor. Special thanks to Maureen Hoch, Adi Ignatius, Karen Player, Ramsey Khabbaz, Nicole Smith, Anne Bartholomew, and you – our listener. See you next week.

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Judge turns down defense request to step aside from Mobile capital murder case

Lawyers for james wilson iv raise questions about how this and other cases were assigned.

MOBILE, Ala. ( WALA ) - A specially appointed judge on Tuesday turned down a defense request that he step aside from a capital murder case and transfer it back to the docket of a full-time judge.

Lawyers for James David Wilson IV took pains to make clear they were not questioning Judge Charles Graddick’s ability to handle the case. But they argued his appointment raises questions about how cases are assigned in Mobile County Circuit Court.

Graddick, a former Mobile County Circuit Court judge who retired when he reached the age limit of 70, has been filling in, as needed, for several years. That is a period that includes the COVID-19 pandemic and the death of Judge James Patterson.

Wilson stand accused of gunning down two people in a car at the intersection of Craft Highway and Martin Luther King Avenue in January 2021. It is the second time the 41-year-old Whistler man has been charged in a double-murder; he served five years in prison for killing two people in 2006.

Graddick heard testimony Tuesday as part of the defense request that he dismiss the charges based on claims that Wilson was acting in self-defense.

Hernandez said there was no indication that Davis was backlogged and suggested that the transfer has possible racial implications. Prior to Davis’ appointment last year, there were no black judges on the local bench.

“Further, the selection process for assignment of cases remains unknown and is believed to be arbitrary and capricious, as well as potentially racially motivated as James Wilson was removed from the only African American Judge’s Docket and placed on the docket of a Non-African American judge for some unknown reason,” Hernandez wrote in the court filing.

Hernandez also wrote that the “absence of transparency” in the courts has “historically been a place of racial divide among the people in the community.”

No reason to transfer case, defense says

Hernandez wrote that the Mobile County bench has not had a black judge in more than a decade and that the “African American number of defendants being tried, convicted, and sentenced to longer sentences exceed” white defendants.

“We haven’t had an African American judge in some time,” she told FOX10 News. “There was no reason – no reason given. She (Davis) didn’t ask for recusal, or she didn’t file a recusal. She didn’t ask for the case to be transferred. It is completely unknown why this case was transferred.”

Davis was unavailable for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

Hernandez’s 76-page motion zeros in on Mobile County Presiding Circuit Judge Wesley Pipes’ order in November transferring the case from Davis to Graddick. Pipes did not explain why he was transferring the case but cited a law passed last year that provides for retired judges to receive $780 per day on “interim active duty status.”

The statute places a limit of 50 days. Tuesday was the 51st day.

“Under the statute, the judge shouldn’t be continuing to serve as an active-duty judge in this case or any other case at this point, if he’s had them for 50 calendar days,” Hernandez said.

Pipes told FOX10 News that he will let Graddick’s order on the recusal request speak for itself, and he declined to explain why he transferred this case. But he said the statute providing for the extra pay for circuits “in need,” based on caseload data – with the approval of the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court – does not require the 50 days to be consecutive.

And even after Graddick hits the 50-day limit, Pipes said, the judge would be able to continue presiding over cases without additional pay under an older law that remains on the books allowing for retired judges to handle cases for up to a year.

Defense: Prosecutors ‘hand-picking cases’ to transfer

In her court filing, Hernandez argued “the selection process for assignment of cases remains unknown and is believed to be arbitrary and capricious.”

She wrote that transfer of Wilson’s case was a violation of his due process rights and “may amount to allowing forum shopping” if prosecutors had a hand in the decision without consultation of the defense. She told FOX10 News that she is aware that the District Attorney’s Office has played a role in re-assigning cases.

“I have knowledge that in at least one courtroom, the prosecutors were hand-picking cases. … I wasn’t consulted,” she said.

Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood could not immediately be reached for comment.

The so-called immunity hearing on Tuesday included testimony from crime-scene investigators, a forensic pathologist, a firearms expert and witnesses. Graddick also saw pictures of the bullet-riddled vehicles as the lawyers for Wilson attempted to demonstrate that he was acting in self-defense.

The defense maintains that the defendant was a victim of an “ambush” and that he got out of his vehicle, seeking cover as he returned fire.

According to testimony, victims Camdon Jackson and Van Kennedy both suffered multiple gunshot wounds inside their black Chevrolet Malibu. But the pictures showed that the defendant’s gray Volkswagen sport utility vehicle had at least six bullet holes, as well.

The law enforcement investigators and a pathologist who performed one of the autopsies all testified that there is no way to know the order of the gunshots from that forensic evidence.

Wanda Hector, who was working at a nearby gas station at the time of the shooting, testified that she heard her assistance scream and heard gunfire.

“It was like, ‘pow, pow, pow,’” she said. “I thought it was a car backfiring.”

The hearing will continue with more testimony Wednesday. Graddick must decide whether to throw out the charges, and defense has the burden at this stage. If the case proceeds to trial, however, the Wilson’s lawyers can argue self-defense and the burden shifts to the prosecution.

Prosecutors already have announced they do not intend to seek the death penalty.

Copyright 2024 WALA. All rights reserved.

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FIRST MAJOR LOSS FOR ACCC BOSS

Reporting by Scott Murdoch, Lewis Jackson and Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Sonali Paul, Stephen Coates and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. , opens new tab

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Thomson Reuters

Scott Murdoch has been a journalist for more than two decades working for Thomson Reuters and News Corp in Australia. He has specialised in financial journalism for most of his career and covers equity and debt capital markets across Asia and Australian M&A. He is based in Sydney.

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Reports on breaking news in Australia and New Zealand covering the biggest stories across politics, companies and commodities. Previously wrote about equities at Morningstar.

Chicago-based investor Curi RMB Capital on Thursday said NEC Corp and its listed unit Japan Aviation Electronics (JAE) should cancel their buyback deal and reconsider alternative buyout offers they have received.

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U.S. energy firm Chord Energy said on Wednesday it would acquire Canada's Enerplus , creating a Williston basin-focused entity with an enterprise value of $11 billion.

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Real estate investment trust Host Hotels & Resorts forecast on Wednesday its 2024 revenue to be higher than Wall Street estimates, anticipating a continued recovery in demand for business travel.

AbbVie is looking to sell at least $13 billion of corporate bonds to help fund its acquisitions of ImmunoGen and Cerevel Therapeutics , Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

IMAGES

  1. Trust Agreement for Shares

    assignment of shares to trust

  2. Trust Deed for Shares

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  3. Free Printable Trust Declaration, Stocks Form (GENERIC)

    assignment of shares to trust

  4. (PRINTABLE) Assignment Of Beneficial Interest In Trust

    assignment of shares to trust

  5. Assignment of Shares

    assignment of shares to trust

  6. Trust Declaration for Holding Shares

    assignment of shares to trust

COMMENTS

  1. The Tax Consequences of Transferring Stock to a Trust

    to a trust means you are shifting the ownership of your shares. This change opens a door to some complexities. Choosing a , drafting a trust agreement and then reassigning the stocks to the trust via an amendment in the name on the stock certificate or brokerage account are involved.

  2. Transferring Stocks and Bonds to a Living Trust

    To put stocks or bonds that you hold into a trust, you typically use a document called a "securities assignment" (sometimes called a "stock power"). This document asks the securities' "transfer agent" for permission to transfer the securities to your trust.

  3. Transferring Business Interests into a Trust

    However, you can transfer your portion of the business interest to a Trust as long as you secure a document of transfer, sometimes called an Assignment of Interest. This document will state that you are choosing to transfer your portion of the interests over to a Trust.

  4. Transferring Assets to Your Trust

    If you are your own trustee, sign the signature card (s) with your usual signature. You may also need to sign new account agreements. You should find that the task of transferring this asset to the name of the Trustee (s) to be quite simple. If not, have the bank officer call us.

  5. A DIY guide to transferring assets into a living trust

    Tangible personal property. To transfer ownership of these assets requires a change in legal ownership from your own name to the trust's name, effectively funding the trust. Assets eligible to be placed into a living trust include but not limited to: Real estate. Financial accounts such as stocks and bonds.

  6. Guide For Transfer Of Assets To A Revocable Living Trust

    To transfer to the trust any shares of stock in a closely held company which is now held in your name(s), you should instruct the secretary of the corporation to issue new certificates in the name(s) of the trustee(s) in the form suggested on page 1. Existing certificates should then be cancelled.

  7. A General Assignment of Assets to Living Trust can help avoid Probate

    assignment is regularly used by estate planners to transfer all types of financial assets (excluding tax deferred retirement accounts) and personal property (such as the contents of one's home) into the trust. It is a half-step towards actually re-titling the securities and the financial accounts into the name of the trustee.

  8. How to Transfer Business Interests into a Trust

    If you own stock or shares in a corporation, you should contact the corporation and fill out any necessary documents to transfer your stock or shares to a trust. Often this document is called an "Assignment of Stock". Submit this document to the corporation and have them file it.

  9. Own Shares of S-Corp Stock? Consider Adding a Trust to Your Estate Plan

    Transfer your ownership of the shares to yourself as Trustee of your trust. Carefully review the corporate documents to determine how shares of stock in the company are transferred to another person or entity. Ensure that you follow the corporate procedures carefully when transferring ownership over the stock to your trust.

  10. Stock Assignment Separate from Certificate Transferring Stock to

    A Standard Document used for the transfer of stock in a closely held corporation (sometimes called a close corporation) to a revocable trust, called a stock assignment separate from certificate, that can be customized for use in any US jurisdiction. This Standard Document contains integrated notes and drafting tips.

  11. How to Transfer Corporation Shares into a Trust

    Learn the step-by-step process of transferring corporation shares into a trust. This guide simplifies the often complex process, providing you with the knowledge you need to secure your investments and plan for the future effectively.

  12. What Are The Tax Consequences of Transferring Stock Into This?

    Essentially, transferring stock to a trust means you are shifting the ownership of your shares. This change opens a door to some complexities. Choosing a trustee, drafting a trust agreement...

  13. Transferring Titled Property Into Your Trust

    Normally, you can transfer your shares in a closely held corporation to your living trust by following corporate bylaws and having the stock certificates reissued in the living trust's name. But first, check the corporation's bylaws and articles of incorporation, as well as any separate shareholders' agreements, to see if there are any ...

  14. PDF Transfer of Assets to the Trustee of A Revocable Trust and Operation of

    GENERAL The purposes of this memorandum are to outline the steps to be taken in transferring assets to the Trustee of a Revocable Trust (either at the inception of the trust or thereafter) and to review the operation of the trust after its initial funding. Since one of the major purposes of using a Revocable Trust as the main dispositive ...

  15. Why It Is Important to Assign Shares to Family Trusts

    The process of transferring shares to a trust is incredibly easy. We prepare two documents (an Assignment Separate From Certificate and a new share certificate) and then update the stock ledger. But you have to know to ask.

  16. General Assignment Effectively Transfers Unintentionally Omitted Shares

    A general assignment of assets, as the name implies, transfers ownership of a wide variety of personal assets. This is typically used by estate planners to transfer all types of financial instruments and personal property into a trust without having to individually specify the asset being transferred. In the event that a personal property was unintentionally omitted from being transferred into ...

  17. Should I Hold Shares Through a Trust?

    There are many reasons why it can be useful to hold your shares through a trust, including for: tax planning; tax benefits; ease of succession; and asset protection. Tax Planning Any income you receive from shares you personally own will be taxed at your personal marginal tax rate.

  18. Transferring Bank or Holding Company Stock to a Trust

    Any person acquiring control of a bank holding company or state member bank must give prior notice to the Federal Reserve. This requirement applies to trusts and their trustees. A notice under the CIBC Act will be required when the proposed ownership is 25 percent or higher or 10 percent or higher and no other shareholder controls more shares.

  19. The Assignment of Personal Items to Trust

    The Assignment of Personal Items to Trust. A living trust is a legal entity that holds property for the benefit of someone other than the person who created the trust. The process of transferring property into a trust varies depending on the type of property. For example, transferring a house into a trust calls for a process that is different ...

  20. Q&A: Transferring Shares to a Trust

    A "The ability to transfer ownership of shares in a cooperative in a stock and lease varies from co-op to co-op," says attorney and partner Geoffrey Mazel of the New York-based firm Hankin & Mazel, PLLC. "The transfer does not serve any corporate interest and is an accommodation to the shareholders of the cooperative. Many co-op boards argue that the proprietary lease requires the owner ...

  21. How to Transfer Co-Op Shares into a Trust

    Transferring co-op shares into a trust can provide various benefits like asset protection, tax advantages, and bypassing probate. Why Transfer Co-Op Shares into a Trust. Transferring your co-op shares into a trust offers a legal shield for your assets, safeguards against potential liabilities, and ensures a smoother transition of assets after ...

  22. How Do I Allot or Transfer Shares To a Trust?

    To reflect the fact that shares are held by the Trustees on Trust (rather than beneficially) you can include the name of the Trust or the fact that they are being held on trust in the register and on any share certificates as an account designation. For example: if Jack Jones and Jill Jones are trustees you would first create a joint shareholder.

  23. PDF TRANSFER AND ASSIGNMENT OF SHARES

    If Transferee is acting in a representative capacity for a corporation, pay internship, trust, or other entity, or as agent for any person or entity, Transferee has full authority to execute this Transfer and Assignment of Shares in such capacity.

  24. Introduction to Wills

    The term trust describes the holding of property by a trustee, which may be one or more persons or a corporate trust company or bank, in accordance with the provisions of a contract, the written trust instrument, for the benefit of one or more persons called beneficiaries. The trustee is the legal owner of the trust property, and the ...

  25. How to Build

    Whether your company is big or small, IBM's former CEO Sam Palmisano says it's essential to build relationships with your shareholders before there's a specific problem to address. In this ...

  26. Judge turns down defense request to step aside from Mobile capital

    MOBILE, Ala. - A specially appointed judge on Tuesday turned down a defense request that he step aside from a capital murder case and transfer it back to the docket of a full-time judge.Lawyers ...

  27. Ripple to Buy New York Crypto Trust Company to Expand U.S ...

    Ripple struck a deal to acquire Standard Custody & Trust Co., the company said Tuesday, in order to secure a New York trust charter in an ongoing expansion of its U.S. regulatory licensing ...

  28. ANZ's $3.2 bln Suncorp bank unit buyout approved by tribunal

    ANZ shares closed 2.2% lower, while Suncorp stock ended 6% higher. The S&P/ASX200 ... Information you can trust. Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world's largest ...