Creating Your Revocable Living Trust
Transferring Your Estate Without Probate
Wills are traditional and well-known documents that serve to designate the transfer of an individual’s estate assets. Additional documentation, commonly referred to as revocable living trusts (“trusts”), have become widely recognized and implemented for our clients’ use in order to avoid the costly and time consuming probate administration process, and to more efficiently transfer a client’s assets to his/her beneficiaries. The key difference with use of a trust involves the transfer of title of assets from the individual owner to the trust during the owner’s lifetime. Scott D. Fisher, Esq. is most knowledgeable with this important task of confirming that his clients’ assets are properly titled in the trust’s name during his clients’ lifetime.
Revocable Living Trusts are the most common form of recognized trusts. The term "revocable" refers to one’s ability to add, transfer, sell, gift or otherwise change any of the assets held within the Trust, even after the Trust document is executed and placed into effect. During one’s lifetime, as personal relationships evolve and asset holdings change, the person who has transferred assets to his/her Trust still maintains the ability to make changes, not only to the assets identified within the Trust, but also to the identification of beneficiaries and successor trustees, as long as that person remains legally and mentally competent to make such changes.
What Can A Trust Do?
Specifically, a Trust is a formal agreement that serves to place estate assets owned by the person who establishes the Trust (“the Trustor”) in the hands of a designated person, known as a Trustee, usually during one’s lifetime. Usually, the Trustor and the Trustee are the same person during his/her lifetime. Similar to an Executor who serves under a Will instrument, a “Successor Trustee” can be anyone who the owner designates to manage their assets upon their death. The Successor Trustee can be a spouse, a close friend, a respected financial consultant or investment adviser, or a licensed professional fiduciary. Upon the passing of the Trustor, the Successor Trustee will be tasked with administering the Trust by paying the Trustor’s last debts and expenses, gathering and consolidating the assets, and distributing the specific assets, or net proceeds from the sale of such assets, to the Trustor’s designated beneficiaries.
While a Trust typically does not hold personal property of sentimental or insignificant value, Scott D. Fisher, Esq. assists his clients with recognized procedures to confirm that these important items are distributed to the intended beneficiaries, as well.
Trusts are intended for the preservation of financial assets by formally transferring title to such assets from the individual owner to his/her Trust, including the following assets:
- Real property holdings
- Financial accounts, including savings accounts, money market accounts and other liquid holdings
- Stocks/investment accounts held by investment brokerages
- Small business interests, whether through corporate shareholder or limited liability company membership interest holdings
- Patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade names
- Any valuable item with a formal title of ownership such as artwork, precious metals or antique collections
Across the board, the most commonly recognized benefit for use of a Trust, and for the transfer of assets to a Trust during the Trustor’s lifetime, is the elimination of the need for probate administration after the Trustor’s death. Trust administration is accomplished without involving a local probate court immediately after the Trustor’s death. Typically with an attorney’s guidance, the Successor Trustee will handle the proper asset title transfers, and will confirm that the Trustor’s wishes are honored by confirming that the beneficiaries receive the Trustor’s assets as intended.
To learn more about revocable living trusts and how Scott D. Fisher, A Professional Law Corporation has the resources to help you draft yours, contact our firm today and schedule a consultation. You can also reach us via our 24-hour voicemail service at 323-989-4860.
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