A revocable living trust can help assets pass outside of probate, yet allows you to retain control of the assets during your lifetime. It is flexible and can be dissolved at any time, should your circumstances or intentions change. A revocable living trust typically becomes irrevocable upon your death. You can name yourself as trustee and retain ownership and control over the trust, its terms, and assets during your lifetime, but make provisions for a successor trustee to manage them in the event of your incapacity or death. Although a revocable living trust may help avoid probate, it is usually still subject to estate taxes. It also means that during your lifetime, it is treated like any other asset you own.
Since trusts usually avoid probate, your beneficiaries may gain access to these assets more quickly than they might to assets that are transferred using a Will.
Other benefits of revocable living trusts include:
(1) Control of your wealth. You can specify the terms of a trust precisely, controlling when and to whom distributions may be made. You can set it up so that the trust assets remain accessible to you during your lifetime while designating to whom the remaining assets will pass after you die, even when there are complex situations such as children from more than one relationship.
(2) Protection of your legacy. A properly constructed trust can help protect your estate from your heirs’ creditors or from beneficiaries who may not be adept at money management.
(3) Privacy and probate savings. Probate is a matter of public record; a trust may allow assets to pass outside of probate and remain private, in addition to possibly reducing the amount lost to court fees and taxes in the process.
If you are interested in setting up a revocable living trust as part of your overall estate plan, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to set up an appointment. We proudly serve clients throughout Washington and Idaho and are available to meet in person, by phone, or via Skype or FaceTime.