A revocable trust helps you protect and manage your assets during your lifetime and distribute them according to your wishes after you pass away.
Your lawyer can advise whether a revocable trust is right for you and help you create an estate plan that serves you and your family. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about revocable trusts.
What Is a Living Trust?
A living trust or a revocable living trust is a legal document that explains the management and distribution of your assets in the event of your death or incapacitation.
When you create a living trust, you hand over ownership of your assets to the trust. Assets you can place in a trust include:
- Real estate
- Liquid assets
- Financial accounts
- Life insurance policies
A trustee, who can be yourself or another party of your choosing, controls the assets per your instructions in the trust agreement. After you die or become incapacitated, a successor trustee, whom you also name, distributes your assets according to the trust agreement.
What Are the Advantages of a Living Trust?
Living trusts have several advantages that make them popular estate planning tools, including:
Flexibility: You can fund, defund, amend, or revoke a living trust as you see fit during your lifetime. You also retain continued access to the trust assets.
Avoiding Probate: Trust assets normally pass directly to your beneficiaries without going through probate, which can be costly and time-consuming.
Privacy: The probate process is public record. Anyone can see your will, asset inventory, and other information. Living trusts are private.
Avoiding Conservatorships: If you become incapacitated, a revocable trust can help you to avoid a court-supervised conservatorship. The successor trustee assumes control of the assets and manages them per the trust agreement.
Immediate Access to Assets: Your beneficiaries can typically access trust assets immediately after your death. In contrast, the probate process for wills can take months. Your heirs may not be able to access their inheritance until the process is over.
Is a Living Trust Right for You?
Living trusts are not for everyone. Depending on your circumstances, a simple will may be all you need. A living trust can be a good fit if you:
- Own real estate in multiple states
- Have a large or complex estate
- Are over the age of 55
You should also keep in mind that setting up a trust does not necessarily mean avoiding probate or estate tax.
Your lawyer can advise you whether a living trust is right for you or whether you should consider a different type of trust, like an irrevocable trust.
Speak to a Maryland Living Trust Attorney
Estate planning can be overwhelming, but with a plan in place, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re ready for any unexpected circumstances. At the Law Office of Ralph W. Powers, Jr., P.C., we can guide you through the process and put you back in control over your assets with a revocable trust.