Estate Planning

Revocable Trusts (Living Trusts)

 

What is a revocable trust?

A revocable trust (or living trust) is a type of trust that may be created by a living person and may be changed or terminated while that person, called the settlor, grantor, or trustor, is alive. A revocable trust usually becomes irrevocable when the settlor dies.

Should I have a revocable trust?

A revocable trust can provide for the disposition of your property when you die without requiring probate. Many people use revocable trusts to avoid the expense, delay, and court oversight of a probate proceeding.

A trust may provide for the management of your property if you become incapacitated, avoiding the need for a conservatorship. The manager of the trust, called the trustee, is responsible for managing the trust property during the lifetime of the settlor and, in accordance with the trust document, distributing the property on the settlor’s death.

A married couple may use a trust to reduce or eliminate potential estate taxes after they both have died.

If I have a revocable trust, do I need a will, too?

Yes, you should also have a pour-over will to transfer any property you may have not placed in your trust. A pour-over will may provide that such property is distributed according to the terms of the trust.

If I have a revocable trust, whom should I name as my trustee?

You may want to be your own trustee while you are alive and have capacity to act. You will name a successor trustee who will act as trustee when you are unwilling or unable to manage your trust property. Your successor trustee may be a trusted family member, friend, or professional fiduciary.