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Living Trusts: The Absolute Basics

Posted by attorney Eric Ridley

Trust (Revocable Living Trust)

What is a Trust? / Foter

A Trust (in the most common use, a Revocable Living Trust, but there are myriad other types), is a legal document that will, in a few cases, partly substitute for a will. With a revocable living trust ( sometimes called a revocable inter vivos trust or grantor trust ), your assets are put into the trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime and moved to your beneficiaries when you die – all without the necessity for court intervention. The great majority of people name themselves as the trustee in control of handling their living trust’s assets.

By naming yourself as trustee, you can stay in control over the assets during your lifetime. Additionally, you can revoke or change any details of the trust at any point so long as you’re still competent. ( The details of the trust become irrevocable when you die. ). In your trust agreement, you may also name a successor trustee ( somebody yo know, or a professional trustee ) who will take over as the trustee and manage the trust’s assets if you must ever become unable to do that.

Your successor trustee would also take over the management and distribution of your assets when you die. A living trust doesn’t nevertheless, remove all need for you to have a will. In general, you will still need a will known as a 'pourover will' to cover any assets that haven’t been moved to the trust. You really should talk to a estate planning lawyer to help you in the preparing of a living trust, your will and other estate planning documents. Additionally, remember that your selection of trustees is important. That trustee’s management of your living trust assets may not be subject to direct court supervision.

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