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Revocable Living Trusts

 

Revocable Living Trusts

 

A revocable trust is an agreement between its maker and the trustee (the manager of the trust).  The agreement can be changed by the maker while the maker is alive and well Through the agreement the maker of the trust instructs the trustee on the purposes, methods and manner of the trustees management duties over the assets of the trust. These instructions may, and likely do change depending on the health, well-being and age of the beneficiary of the trust.   Most clients (the trustmaker) also serve as the initial trustee of the trust as well as the initial beneficiary.  Over time, however, these roles shift with the intention of the Trustmaker or because of disability of death.  Accordingly, the instructions should be well considered in the planning process and at periodic reviews. 

 

 

 

The trust, and the trustee, controls only the assets that have been transferred to the trust (funded).  For the well-designed trust to function as intended, therefore, it is wise to complete the funding promptly and avoid the probate of unfunded assets and also accomplish the following:

 

·         Avoid the court-centered probate process on first and second death (married Trustmakers)

 

·         Avoid will contest court-centered litigation

 

·         Avoid the expense and inefficiency of probate administration

 

·         Avoid the excessively lengthy and restrictive hold on asset distribution to beneficiaries associated with the probate court-centered process

 

·         Avoid inequities from transfer on death accounts that fail to take into consideration the balance of the estate

 

·         Protection for spouses, children and other beneficiaries

 

·         Address issues with second and subsequent marriages, including protecting children of prior marriages

 

·         Individualized planning for children

 

·         Plan for federal and state estate tax minimization

 


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