A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that is used to decide who will receive your property after you die. Many living trusts are revocable meaning you can change them when your wishes change or as your circumstances do. Revocable living trusts are considered living because you make these legal requests during your lifetime. This is known as inter vivos by lawyers.
They are often used in order to avoid probate court. This is a court-supervised process that finalizes a person’s estate. They can be time consuming and expensive as well as burdensome to a grieving family. The property left through a living trust can be passed to beneficiaries without the need for probate.
About the Legal Document
This written legal document is signed by the trust maker as well as the notary. The document itself must list all the property within the trust, a trustee as well as a name for each piece of property. The successor’s trustee will take over the process after the trust maker passes on.
After the document is made, the trust maker must transfer any property that he wants covered by the trust directly into the trust. For many things, this will require listing property within the document. Titled property such as real estate must be retitled into the name of the trust for this document to be legally-binding. This is usually not difficult, but must be done correct or the titled property mentioned could end up in probate court anyways.
In a trust and not a will, you can avoid probate court, avoid a conservatorship, keep the document private after someone’s death and reduce the chances of a court dispute. A will and not a trust can name guardians for children, name managers for the children’s property, name an executor (trustee in case of a revocable living trust) and tell how debts or taxes should be paid.