My best friend / sister / brother / dad has a revocable living trust and told me that I needed one too. Do I?

Living TrustA revocable living trust, or inter-vivos trust, is a trust that is most often used to avoid probate and guardianship with respect to an individual’s assets upon their death. A trust is created by the owner of the assets who is then referred to as the “Grantor.” Once the trust has been created, the Grantor then transfers title to the assets from his or her name into the name of the trust, and those assets are then managed by a trustee. Typically the Grantor himself chooses to serve as the trustee.

Trusts are complex and versatile, and aside from naming beneficiaries, it may also include provisions instructing when or how often a beneficiary will receive distributions upon the death of the Grantor. A revocable living trust may be warranted in your estate plan if : you own real estate (other than your home), have a second marriage with children from a previous marriage or relationship, have assets on which it is difficult to designate beneficiaries, have significant assets, have special requirements for distributions to beneficiaries, or have extremely specific directions that are simply too complex for a simple will or will with testamentary trust. Revocable living trusts are costly and they not for everyone. Our office reviews your particular situation to determine whether such a trust is appropriate. There are alternative probate avoidance strategies that may be more practical for you.

Does a Trust avoid probate?

Yes, when properly funded with assets, a revocable living trust can avoid the probate of property.

If I have a Trust, do I still need a will?

YES. A will is essential to a complete estate plan. In the event you require a trust, you will also need to have a pour-over will. A pour-over will is a will that will ensure that assets that were left out of the trust for whatever reason, and that are in your name alone with no beneficiary designation at the time of your death, will go into the trust upon your death. Those assets would “pour-over” into the trust, and be distributed pursuant to the terms of the trust.