If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve probably spent more time planning your next vacation than deciding how to transfer your estate. But without proper planning, much of what you worked for during your lifetime could be distributed to unintended beneficiaries or lost to unnecessary complications.
A revocable living trust is a popular estate planning tool that lets you control how your property is handled during your life and after death. It also helps avoid probate and transfers your property quickly and privately.
The trust is a legal document that partially replaces a will. You transfer assets, such as your house, bank accounts, or stocks, into the trust’s name. A trustee, usually you or someone you have confidence in, manages the property for the benefit of you or your family. It’s called a living trust because it’s created when you are alive. And since it’s revocable, you can change or cancel the trust at any time before your death.
Benefits and Limitations of a Living Trusts
Creating a trust is a personal decision based on your own unique circumstances. A living trust has many benefits, but it may not do everything you need. Let’s look at what a revocable living trust can and can’t do for you:
Benefits of a Living Trust
Limitations of a Living Trust
In some circumstances, it may be possible for you draft a revocable trust on your own. Make a document stating the trust is created to hold property for the benefit of yourself or someone you specify. You can name yourself as the trustee, but be sure to select an alternate trustee.
Next, list the assets being placed in the trust. Remember, the trust becomes the owner of the property you transfer. That’s why you must change the name on the title to that of the trust. Rest assured, you keep the right to manage your property in a living trust, even if you’re not the trustee. You have the right to change the terms of the trust, remove the trustee, or the property, at any time.
When you’re finished writing your trust, sign it and have it notarized. You can fund your trust using a deed or standard transfer document to transfer the property into the trustee's name, per the trust's terms. It’s important to understand the laws in your state to properly form and fund your trust. Errors can make your trust invalid and without any legal effect. If you have any concerns, consult with a lawyer or other estate planning professional.
Free Attorney Review of Your Trust Plans
Proper planning makes it easier for your loved ones to carry out your wishes once you’re gone. It can also help avoid arguments among those you leave behind. Revocable living trusts are a useful part of many estate plans but they’re not for everyone. When planning for your future, it’s important to work with an attorney familiar with the laws of your state. Receive a free initial legal review from an experienced attorney and learn which estate planning options are best for you.