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What is a revocable living trust?

If you have ever thought about writing a will or an estate plan, you may have come to realize that many documents are required to protect different elements of your future. Some work together and others work separately to secure your needs. One popular tool in estate planning is a revocable living trust. Here we will state the purpose of a revocable living trust, why you might need one and how you can maintain it as part of your estate plan.

Defining its use

Many estate planning tools only take effect after you or a loved one passes away. However, as the name implies, a revocable living trust can be used in your lifetime to manage your property and assets if you are unable to do so yourself. It offers lots of versatility to meet your needs and can be amended at any time.

Who benefits from a living trust?

You and your loved ones will benefit from a revocable living trust, but careful administration is needed throughout the process. At least three parties are involved in the succession of a trust. These parties are known as the grantor, the trustee and the beneficiaries.

  • Grantor: The person who writes the revocable living trust (you).
  • Trustee: The person(s) designated to manage the trust when you are unable.
  • Beneficiaries: The person(s) who receives assets in the trust.

What can be included in a trust?

As mentioned, a revocable living trust is versatile and can be customized to meet the needs of your estate and your family's lifestyle. Assets and property that can be included are as follows:

  • Bank accounts like savings, CDs and checking accounts.
  • Investment accounts not including 401(k) or IRAs.
  • Certified stocks and bonds.
  • Personal property like a home or car.
  • Real estate including business and commercial property.
  • Business interests like trademarks or patents.

How do I maintain a trust?

There's more to just putting a revocable living trust on paper. Establishing and maintaining a trust requires the cooperation of you, your loved ones and the financial institutions that hold your assets. Ensuring that a trustee can manage your estate and that the institutions will honor your documents require maintenance to your plan.

As life changes, so should your plans for your trust and larger estate. An estate planning attorney can guide you through the process of establishing a trust and managing the paperwork needed to put it into action. When you are aware of the features and benefits of a revocable living trust, you can be better prepared to use it to your advantage for yourself and your loved ones.

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