A Revocable Living Trust is an estate planning instrument created by you during your lifetime and is effective in connection with any real or personal property that you place into the trust. Until such time as it’s funded with assets, it’s just a nullity.
When you create the Revocable Living Trust, you’re known as the grantor. During your lifetime, you are the trust’s trustee, and you have full power and authority to amend the trust, or even revoke it in its entirety and take back title to its assets. Until the time of your death, you are also the beneficiary of the trust. At the same time as the living trust is created, a Last Will and Testament is also executed providing that all of the assets in your estate at the time of your death are to be distributed by a successor trustee who is named in the will. This is known as a pour-over will.
For purposes of an estate planning tool, the attorneys at Springer & Lyle can draft a pour-over Last Will and Testament along with a Revocable Living Trust to avoid the probate process. With the Revocable Living Trust, the successor trustee can begin distributing the trust’s assets immediately after your death. The revocable living trust also operates to protect not only your privacy, but also the privacy of anybody who takes pursuant to the trust’s provisions. Only the Last Will and Testament might be available for public inspection, but that tells nothing other than the fact that all real and personal property owned by you in your lifetime passes pursuant to the terms of a private Revocable Living Trust.
The caveat connected with a Revocable Living Trust is that you’re required to transfer all of your assets into the trust while you are alive. Those assets include any interests in real estate. Anything not transferred into the trust during your lifetime is subject to the probate process that you’re attempting to avoid. For example, proceeds obtained from a winning lottery ticket after creation of the trust would be subject to probate if they weren’t transferred into the trust during your lifetime.
Here at Springer & Lyle we’re available to work with you in establishing your Revocable Living Trust. Call us for a consultation and we’ll get you started.