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Revocable Living Trust

The revocable living trust is a grantor trust that can be modified or revoked during a creator’s lifetime. Revocable living trusts are commonly used to keep assets out of probate administration, however, the assets are included in an individual’s estate for tax purposes. The revocable living trust can also be used to shield assets from risky behaviors of your spouse and/or children (especially if you have a blended family). The revocable living trust can place age limits on distributions as well as provide for further restrictions under which assets can be removed from the trust. The revocable trust is one of the most versatile planning estate planning strategy and a great tool to use to avoid probate process administration.

A revocable living trust is usually executed or modified contemporaneously with the pour over last will and testament. The pour over last will and testament distributes the decedent’s personal property to designated beneficiaries and all other property is “poured over” into the named revocable trust for the benefit of pre-determined beneficiaries. The grantor (also known as settlor) and their spouse are often the original trustees of the revocable trust, which allows them to retain control over the assets during their lifetime. In some cases, joint trusts are appropriate. At incapacity, the spouse and/or children handle the affairs for you depending on your particular situation. The trust can further specify provisions for (or limitation of) spousal and/or family support.

As far as distribution of trust assets, beneficiaries can receive their gifts outright, or in one or more trust installments (commonly referred to as a “trust fund”). The trust can also limit the distribution(s) to the health, maintenance and support of the beneficiaries. The revocable living trust also allows you to specify age limits on distributions to minors, or to beneficiaries under a certain age (for example: a child can’t receive a large portion of their trust until they reach 30 years old). This can ensure that trust assets are not being squandered by beneficiaries who are not mature enough to receive such an inheritance outright.

The revocable living trust may hold assets including but not limited to: homestead real property, retirement account beneficiary designations, life insurance, real estate properties, brokerage account, and checking and savings accounts. You can also hold S corporation stock and most other business assets in your revocable living trust which could be part of your business succession plan. S corporation stock held in trust will have additional limitations and filing requirements, however, a knowledgeable attorney can guide you through this process.

Learn more about the different estate planning strategies below:

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