A revocable living trust is a popular estate planning tool that you can use to determine who will get your property when you die. Most living trusts are “revocable” because you can change them as your circumstances or wishes change. Revocable living trusts are “living” because you make them during your lifetime. Lawyers sometimes call this “inter vivos.”
Most people use living trusts to avoid probate. Probate is the court-supervised process of wrapping up a person’s estate. Probate can be expensive, time consuming, and is often more of a burden than a help. Property left through a living trust can pass to beneficiaries without probate.
A living trust document is a written document, signed by the trust maker and a notary public. The document must list the property in the trust, name a trustee, and name who gets the property when the trust maker dies.
The trustee is the person who will take care of the property. While the trust maker is alive, the trustee is usually the trust maker and then a successor trustee takes over after the trust maker’s death.
After the trust document is made, the trust maker must transfer any property he or she wants covered by the trust into the trust. For many items, this requires simply including a list of property with the trust document. However, titled property (like real estate) must be retitled in the name of the trust. This is usually not complicated or difficult, but it must be done correctly or the titled property could end up in probate.
With both wills and revocable living trusts you can:
With a trust, not a will, you can:
Mark is a retired Marine and has been creating Trusts for over 25 years. When Mark isn't volunteering his time with his church, he loves spending time with his children and grandchildren.
Ron, along with his son Andrew, focuses his practice on estate planning, including trusts, wills, and probate. He has established thousands of revocable living trusts and has worked with irrevocable trusts, charitable remainder trusts (annuity and unitrusts), life insurance trusts, family limited partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, and more.
Mr. Sheridan is a frequent lecturer and guest lecturer for a variety of groups, organizations and local colleges. He makes it a priority to give back to the community and is an advocate for the underprivileged.
Practice Areas: Asset Protection, Business Formation, Conservatorship, Estate Planning and Probate Litigation, Guardianship, Trust Administration, Elder Law, and Personal Injury.