LIVING TRUSTS AND WILLS
The Revocable Living Trust is a wonderful estate planning tool which is designed to avoid a probate court proceeding at your death. It insures your privacy by not having to file a probate inventory with the court which is open to the public view.
The Revocable Living Trust provides for the administration of your trust property and estate in the event of your disability or incompetence. Without it, your loved ones may have to file with the court for a guardianship or conservatorship over you and your estate which can be very costly proceedings as well as very public.
You have complete control of the Trust during your lifetime as you are the Trustee (“manager”). When you become disabled or unable to carry on your duties as Trustee, you name someone whom you trust to take over those duties for you (“Successor Trustee”). At your death the Successor Trustee transfers your property to your beneficiaries without the necessity of a probate court action which can take 6 months or more.
Think of the Trust as a “box” into which you are placing your assets. You are the Trustor (“owner” of the box), you are the Trustee (the “manager”) while you are alive and well, and you are the Beneficiary of the Trust until you die. You can make changes to it by amending it and you can revoke it if you so choose.
Once you die, the Beneficiaries then are your spouse, children, grandchildren, charities, or anyone you want to name as a Beneficiary. It is a very flexible tool.
With a Trust, you do not have to go to court to distribute the trust’s assets once you have passed away. With a Will, a probate court proceeding must be filed to get the estate’s assets distributed to the beneficiaries, except under limited circumstances.