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Just The Facts About Revocable Trusts

Law Blog

When it comes to estate planning, the term 'trust" is often a confusing and misunderstood concept. A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, may either supplement or take the place of a traditional will. For those seeking an efficient and convenient way to plan their estate, a revocable trust can be an ideal method to deal with financial assets, both before and after death. Read below for the pertinent facts about revocable trusts.

What Makes Up A Revocable Trust?

You may transfer some or all of your assets to a trust, such as real estate, vehicles, bonds, stocks, art, jewelry, savings and checking accounts. Any property that could be disposed of through a will may also be addressed with a revocable trust, with beneficiaries being named for distribution after death.

Who Is In Charge Of The Trust?

As long you are living and not incapacitated, you are in complete control of your trust. You may change the trust any time you wish, adding and removing assets and even canceling the trust entirely.

Part of setting up the trust is the appointing of the trustee, who will act on your behalf at the appointed time, usually at death or incapacitation. A trustee fills a similar role as that of an executor and is responsible for paying bills, filing taxes and the distribution of assets, just as the executor of a will would. A major difference in the role of the trustee and the executor, however, is that there is no need to file a trust in probate court as you would a will.

What Happens After Death?

The main benefit of a trust over a will becomes more apparent upon the death of the trust account owner. A will must be filed in probate court and the sometimes lengthy process of probate must come to a completion before any assets can be distributed. Additionally, probate documents are part of the public record, with the contents of a person's estate being made available to anyone wishing to view them.

A revocable trust, on the other hand, allows the named assets to pass directly to the beneficiaries, immediately after the owner's death. For those desiring privacy, the contents of the trust are known only to the trustee, and never made public. It's important to point out that even the other beneficiaries of the trust have no way of knowing who received what asset, which could lessen animosity among family members and friends.

A revocable trust should be strongly considered for those who desire a more expeditious method for providing for their beneficiaries and that also prefer to do so in more private manner. Contact an attorney who specializes in elder law, like Cormac McEneryto discuss your options.


13 October 2015