What is a Revocable Living Trust?

There are many types of trusts for many different purposes. The Revocable Living Trust is a trust which:

  1. You create and fund during your lifetime
  2.  Allows you to amend or revoke during your lifetime; and
  3.  Allows you to act as both the Trustee and the beneficiary of the Trust.  

In the typical Revocable Living Trust, you have full use and enjoyment of the trust property during your lifetime. As the Trustee of the Trust, you will have complete control over the trust property, including the ability to perform the daily management of the Trust.

 The Revocable Living Trust owns the assets which you transfer to it. The Trustee (you) distributes the income earned by the Trust assets, and as much of the principal of the Trust as you need, to you in your complete discretion. Upon your death, your remaining Trust assets are distributed to the beneficiaries by the designated Successor Trustee.

 There are three advantages of the Revocable Living Trust over a Will. First, the assets in the Trust do not pass through the probate process. Probate is a judicial proceeding in which your Will is approved as valid and your assets are transferred to your heirs. This means that your estate is subject to probate filing fees, legal fees, public view and a potential Will contest. By using a Revocable Living Trust, the probate process can be avoided.

The second main advantage to using a Revocable Living Trust is the ability to avoid a Court appointed guardian of your assets if you become incapacitated.   The Successor Trustee of your Revocable Living Trust (whom you designate) can manage the Trust property for the benefit of you and your family without the need for a Court intervention to appoint a Guardian for you.

The third main advantage of using a Revocable Living Trust is privacy. Unlike a Will which is a public document once it is probated, a Revocable Living Trust is not filed with Surrogate’s Court and its terms remain private.

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