You form a trust by entering into an agreement with a Trustee who will then hold title to Trust Property for the benefit of someone else. A Revocable Living Trust often starts with you choosing yourself as Trustee who will hold your assets for the benefit of yourself. The Trust Document then governs how the Trustee may change and how the person who benefits (the beneficiary) might change throughout the life of the Trust.
Structure of Most Revocable Living Trusts:
- Grantor – You are the Grantor of the Trust and fund the Trust with Your Personal Assets
- Trustee – Starts as you, then eventually changes to a successor Trustee.
- Beneficiary – Generally is you for your lifetime along with your spouse and any children you have an obligation to support. At your death, the beneficiaries change to contingent or successor beneficiaries.
Benefits of a Trust:
- Probate Avoidance – any assets in the trust pass to your beneficiaries without the necessity of an expensive and public probate (the judicial process that “proves” the will) and court-supervised administration of your estate
- Privacy – a probate estate is a public record, but a trust maintains the privacy of your assets and beneficiaries
- Incapacity Planning – if you an unable to manage your affairs, a properly funded trust allows your successor trustee to step in seamlessly and take over your financial affairs.
- Control During Your Lifetime and Beyond – You have complete control over your trust assets. A Trust also allows you to control the assets long after your death by providing for continuing trusts for your beneficiaries. This might be especially helpful if you have a child with special needs, a child with alcohol or drug addiction, a child that simply cannot handle managing their own money or even a daughter-in-law or son-in-law you don’t trust.
- Immediate Succession Upon Your Death – your successor Trustee takes over immediately upon your death. Without a trust established at the time of your death, no one can access any of your money or other assets until an Executor qualifies with the court, which could take weeks or months. With a Revocable Living Trust, the only thing the successor trustee needs to access your trust assets is the trust document and your death certificate.
Secure The Transfer of Valuable Assets to Your Family With The Help of An Experienced Wills, Trusts, and Estates Attorney!
There are many other potential benefits to Trusts versus Wills. Although they might not make sense for every estate, you may enjoy the benefits of a Trust. If you or a loved have any questions about establishing a Trust, schedule a consultation with our experienced Wills, Trusts, and Estates attorney today. Call 888-691-9319 or fill out this short form to get started.