A revocable living trust is a written agreement designating someone to manage your assets. It's "revocable" because, as long as you're mentally competent, you can change or revoke the trust at any time, for any reason. A living trust becomes irrevocable when you die.
There are three parties to a living trust: the trustor (sometimes called the creator or grantor), the trustee or trustees (those who manage the assets under the terms of the trust), and the beneficiaries. Often, the trustor and trustee of a revocable living trust are the same person. This allows the trustor to manage the trust assets in any way they wish.
A revocable living trust, like a will, is an instrument detailing inheritance instructions. There are several advantages to a trust, however. One advantage is probate avoidance, which keeps privacy intact. A living trust does not become part of the public record unless a trustee or a beneficiary demands court approval for an action or accounting, whereas probate records are always available to the public.
Additionally, your assets and heirs are protected in the event that you suddenly become unable to handle your own financial affairs. Should this occur, a trust ordinarily includes instructions reflecting your choice of successor trustee. Further, a comprehensive plan also typically includes a power of attorney. Without a power of attorney, court involvement is required for any change to the individual charged with managing your assets.
There are many other advantages to creating a revocable living trust that are beyond the scope of this short post. Morris Hall offers free consultations to discuss the advantages specific to your circumstances.
Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney, Andrea Claus.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.