Revocable Living Trusts
A revocable living trust, sometimes referred to as a family trust, is a document that operates much like a will in that it directs how you want your financial affairs handled and who is to receive your property when you die. A revocable living trust can be changed at any time before you die or become incapacitated. However, unlike a will, the living trust takes effect before your death and directs how you want your financial affairs handled before your death with regard to assets owned by the trust.
Typically, the creator of the revocable living trust (the Grantor) appoints himself or herself as trustee and lifetime beneficiary of the trust. The Grantor transfers various assets to the trust. When the Grantor dies, the trust does not die. It becomes irrevocable and continues until the Grantor’s instructions are carried out. This avoids the process of court supervision of the assets owned by the trust, sometimes referred to as probate. You need an experienced estate planning attorney who will not only draft the trust, but also advise you as to what assets are appropriate (or absolutely inappropriate) to transfer to the trust, and assist you with making the transfers.
However, not everyone needs a revocable living trust, and a formal probate process might be avoided or minimized through more simple estate planning techniques depending upon the client’s individual and family situation. Our attorneys help you evaluate whether a revocable living trust is right for you.