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An Introduction to Revocable Living Trusts

Posted by attorney Ross Sussman

REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS A Living Trust is like a cookie jar into which you put your assets, such as stocks, bank accounts, real estate, and other investments. Once your assets are inside the Trust, the cover is put on and we read the Trust Instructions to determine who can put their hand into the cookie jar and what they can take out money for.

You can be the Trustee of your own Trust. You can name Successor Trustees to take your place if you become disabled, if you no longer want to be the Trustee, or upon your death. Assuming you are the Trustee and have named a Successor Trustee, this is the way your Trust would work. During your lifetime, you can put your hand into the Trust and take out whatever money you need or want. If you wish, you can add other assets to the Trust. If you become disabled, your Successor Trustee can put his hand into the Trust and take out whatever is needed for your support.

The Trust Assets still belong to you, and the Successor Trustee must use them exclusively for your benefit. On your death, your Successor Trustee would inventory the contents of the Trust, pay whatever money was needed for your last expenses, debts, and taxes; make any special gifts you designate; and then distribute the rest of the Trust Assets according to the provisions of your Trust. Once all the assets have been distributed, the cookie jar is empty and the Trust is finished.

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