revocable living trusts & their benefits
A Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is a terrific estate planning tool used in nearly every estate. It allows you, the trustor (also called the settlor or grantor), to maintain the ability to change the terms of the trust or, dissolve the trust completely, while you are alive.
A trust is an agreement between a trustor(s), also called a grantor or settlor, and a trustee(s). The individual or organization that receives benefits from the RLT are the beneficiaries. The trustor and the beneficiaries are always different for a revocable living trust. Note, a Domestic Trust allows you be the settlor and beneficiary, while enjoying protection from creditors.
With no planning, the assets you have will endure through probate process after your death. This process means a judge determines how your life's work is distributed. The probate process ensures things are taken care and title is only transferred after due process has occurred. This requires time, money and is part of the public record. Probate court takes many months, if not over a year, and adversely affect your beneficiaries.
If you transferr your assets to an RLT prior to death, such as your home, retirement funds, etc. then your beneficiaries will not need to wait.
Avoid Guardianship or Conservatorship
What happens if you are incapacitated or unable to fulfill your duties as a trustee? With an RLT you can name a successor trustee who will take over your position should you meet the stated requirements for being ‘incapacitated of incapable of fulfilling your duties’. These standards are set by you in the trust. Instead of a court appointed stranger, called a ‘guardian’, being in charge of your finances a trusted family member or friend will take control of the trust. Don’t let the state interfere with your hard earned wealth.
Probate is a part of the public record and trust documents are not. If you do not have an RLT, then your assets go through probate to determine who receives what, and then anyone will be able to research the money you had and who you gifted it to. Trust documents are never filed in a courtroom and therefore keep your family out of the public eye.
Living Trust Downsides
No Asset Protection
A revocable trust does not provide asset protection or tax minimization. The trust is revocable and may be revoked by a judge at anytime. Assets in the trust are not beyond the reach of personal creditors. Further, a revocable is a pass through entity for taxation. This means income run through it cannot be shifted to lower-tax jurisdictions.
Costlier Than A Will
The initial cost of setting up an RLT is generally higher than a will, though the long term cost is lower. Estates which exceed a certain asset value, while only using a will, are still required to undergo the expensive and public process of probbate. Further changing the titles of assets and the names on your accounts takes time and effort. Howeverr, changing the ownership of an asset to your trust means you will only endure this process once, rather than each time you update your estate.
Funding The Trust
You will need to contact your bank,investment companies, and life insurance company. If you're not champing at the bit to changeownership of accounts, stocks, bonds, certify new stocks, retitle cars/boats/houses, then we can happily fund the trust for you.