What Is a Revocable Living Trust?
In its most basic form, a revocable living trust is just a legal contract that you make with yourself to create an entity to hold your assets. A revocable living trust can be set up so you can change it any time in your life (that’s why they are called ‘revocable’) or so that you can’t change very much about it at all (these are irrevocable living trusts). A revocable living trust can outlive you, manage your assets, and make sure that your family and friends get what you wanted them to have, when you wanted them to have it.
What Can A Revocable Living Trust Do For Me?
A Living Trust Eliminates The Need For A Conservatorship
If you become incapacitated or are unable to manage your estate, your living trust avoids the need for a court appointed conservatorship. The successor trustee you’ve named in your trust will step in and manage your affairs without court involvement.
A Living Trust Avoids Probate
Although there will be the need to perform a trust administration after your death, the assets in your Living Trust avoid the delay and cost associated with the probate process.
A Living Trust Provides Privacy
Because a Living Trust avoids probate, it provides privacy. Probate is a public process. Anyone can find out how much you had, to whom you left your assets, and other personal information about you. They do not even need a good reason. They could be neighbors or relatives or worse yet, they could be scam artists.
A Living Trust Allows You to Restrict How Your Estate is Managed and Spent After Your Death
It can provide for the care, support and education of your children by turning over trust assets to them at an age chosen by you. You can even provide that your children should start receiving income from your Living Trust at 18 but that they receive the principal in graduated stages. For example: one-third of the principal at 21, one-third at 25 and one-third at 30.
A Living Trust Can Protect Children From Their Creditors and Ex-Spouses
A Living Trust can leave your assets to your children in a manner that will reduce the ability of their creditors or ex-spouses to take your children’s inheritance from them.
A Living Trust Can Protect Children From Earlier Marriages
Both the surviving spouse and the children from a previous marriage can receive fair treatment and protection under the terms of your Living Trust.
A Living Trust Can Ensure That Your Wishes Are Carried Out and Are Not Subject to Attack
Most well drafted Living Trusts contain a “No Contest Clause” which in most cases prevents greedy beneficiaries and their lawyers from successfully contesting your estate plan.
A Living Trust Gives You Peace of Mind
When your Living Trust is completed and fully funded, you and your family can relax knowing that your estate will be managed and distributed by someone you have selected and trust.
If I Have A Revocable Living trust, Do I Still Need A Will?
The short answer is YES. When you have a living trust, the private living trust document holds all the key information about what you have and to whom you want to give it. The will created in conjunction with your living trust is called a pour over will. This type of will holds very little detail about your assets or about your beneficiaries. The pour over will tells the Probate Court (because all wills are to be filed in Probate Court after you pass on) that all your assets that are outside the living trust should be ‘poured over’ into the living trust and distributed as per the terms of your living trust. Effectively, this will is a back-up document to your living trust.
How Do I Create A Revocable Living trust?
The first step is to make an appointment for a free, no obligation meeting with one of our estate planning professionals. Once you decide to proceed with us, you should be prepared to discuss the following issues:
- How your assets are to be distributed after your death, and
- The names of the people you want to manage your assets if you become incapacitated, and after your death.