A Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is becoming a more common part of estate planning. An RLT adds flexibility, security, privacy and significant administrative savings to almost any estate plan, large or small. The larger and more complex an estate, the greater the potential savings.
An RLT is an agreement between two parties (Grantor and Trustee) to hold and administer assets for the benefit of a third party (Beneficiary). The primary purpose of an RLT is to avoid some of the negative aspects of an estate plan that is based only upon a Will, most importantly, the need to file the Will in open Court in what is called a probate process.
The RLT process (simplified for this space) is to create an RLT, fund the RLT (by titling your assets in the name of the Trust), and then manage the assets. An RLT functions much like a corporation in that it does not have a defined life span. In a corporation, if something happens to the CEO, another is appointed to act in that capacity. In a Trust, if something happens to the Trustee, the successor Trustee steps up to assume the responsibilities.
In the Trust document, you will be able to define the meaning of incapacity to avoid the need for the Court to appoint a conservator. You can name a guardian to avoid the need for a Court to appoint a guardian for you. You can name successor Trustees to make sure that there is a consistent and proper management of your estate during times when you are unable or unwilling, for whatever reason, to manage your affairs. You can name who your beneficiaries will be and when and how they will take specific assets. All of this can be done without the need of a public Court proceeding.