The Benefits Of Using A Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is a legal arrangement that helps you better control and manage your affairs and property during your life, then securely pass along your family legacy and property to future generations.

Under this arrangement, the person who sets up the trust (called the "grantor," "settler" or "trust maker") usually takes on all three roles in a trust - trust maker, trustee and beneficiary. Typically, as part of the arrangement, the trust maker transfers the ownership of their property to the trust. However, the trust maker retains complete ownership and control of the property just as they did when owning the property out right.

This type of trust is called "living" because it is established and run while you're alive. It's called "revocable" because you can change or terminate the trust at any time. Therefore, those who are unwilling to irrevocably transfer their property in other legal arrangements should have no qualms about using a revocable living trust in their estate planning.

A comprehensive, customized revocable living trust has many advantages because it can accomplish anything and everything that a will can, plus other objectives which your will cannot.

Here are a few of the main objectives that you can accomplish with a revocable living trust:

  • Maximize control over your property.
  • Maximize access to your property
  • Maximize preservation of your wealth
  • Maximize adequate management during your life and the life of your spouse
  • Maximize family privacy. In general, the living trust can provide more family privacy than can out right ownership of property.
  • Maximize desired management arrangements after the death of either you or your spouse.
  • Minimize the time it takes to settle your estate. In general, the time required will be much less than what is required when going through the public probate court procedures.
  • Minimize the complexity of settling your estate. Generally, at the death of the trust maker, estate settlement through a living trust is much simpler than it is through the probate process.
  • Minimize the cost of settling your estate. This is because many of the estate settlement actions that would otherwise be required won't have to be undertaken at all.
  • Minimize the total tax liability of your estate. While in and of itself, the revocable living trust is not primarily a tax saving vehicle, it may be the most convenient way for planning to avoid taxes.
  • Minimize the time for distribution of your estate to your beneficiaries. At the moment, the revocable living trust shortens the time it takes to transfer your property to your beneficiaries more than any other single technique.
  • Minimize the likelihood of contests during the settlement of your estate. There are a number of legal reasons why the revocable living trust reduces the odds there will be family feuds during the settlement of your estate.

The revocable living trust is, by far, the estate planning vehicle of choice for those who have taken the time to learn what is best for their families and themselves.

For further consideration of the benefits and consequences of creating a revocable, living trust contact an experienced attorney to discuss your personal situation.

Donald F. Hawbaker is a Griffin, Georgia lawyer. He handles wills, trusts, estates, probate, guardianships and other general, civil matters, including litigation.