Revocable Living Trust
A Revocable Living Trust is the fundamental tool used by most people to provide for the distribution of their estates after death and to avoid Probate. A Living Trust is revocable, which means that it can be changed at any time by the person creating it. The document is actually a legally enforceable contract, which can be made by an individual or couple which allows property to be owned by the Trust itself. If used properly, a Revocable Living Trust can avoid court Probate proceedings after your death and can provide for significant estate tax savings.
In Revocable Living Trusts, the Trustmaker, the Trustee and the Beneficiary are generally the same person (or persons in a joint trust). The Trustmaker creates the Trust, manages the Trust assets, and has the right to use and change all the assets. Since the person creating the Trust has complete and unrestricted access to the Trust assets, there is no loss of control when assets are transferred into the Living Trust. For example, after executing your Living Trust, your attorney will transfer the title of your house into the name of your Trust. From that time on, your house is owned by your Living Trust but you retain complete control to do anything with the property you wish as Trustee. You will do the same transfer for most of your other assets and you remain the owner of all of your assets, with complete control.