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A Revocable Living Trust is often referred to as a substitute for a Last Will and Testament. It is a contract entered into by you to establish a separate entity, the Trust, which will own your assets. You retain control of those assets and have the right to change it, amend it or revoke it at any time.

An irrevocable Trust is a Trust where you do not retain the right to amend or revoke it. Once it is created, it is permanent and cannot be changed. Revocable Living Trusts are not irrevocable.

Once you have created your Living Trust, you can avoid Probate on all of the assets that you transfer into the Trust. By transferring your assets into the Trust, your assets are then owned by the Trust and upon your death the Trust operates to provide for the distribution of those assets to your beneficiaries pursuant to your instructions.

Since it is sometimes impossible to include everything you own in your Living Trust by deed, account or name, you have a simple Pour-Over Will. Unlike the normal Last Will and Testament that you may be used to, the Pour-Over Will simply directs your named Personal Representative to “pour over” any asset which you failed to include in your Trust, into your Trust, for distribution under the terms of your Living Trust. Hopefully, you will have already transferred all major assets into the Living Trust so that no Probate is necessary to transfer the remaining assets into the Living Trust through the Pour Over Will. You may wish to think of the Pour-Over Will as a safeguard for any assets inadvertently left out of your Trust.

A Living Trust will not take effect until you execute it by signing all of the necessary papers and obtaining witness signatures and a notary. However, even then your Trust will remain “unfunded” until you transfer your assets into it. Transferring your assets into your Trust is quite simple. For example, with a deed, you can transfer your real property from your current ownership to your Trust. The law does not consider such a transfer to be a sale for the purposes of reassessing your property for tax purposes. In addition, you may contact your bank or other institution where you hold assets to rename your assets and accounts as belonging to your Trust. After your assets are transferred to your Trust, your Trust is considered “funded”.

A Last Will and Testament guarantees Probate. It must be admitted into court and approved by a judge before assets can be transferred. A Living Trust avoids Probate and provides for a quick and inexpensive transfer of assets upon death.

Yes. A Living Trust avoids Probate and guardianship and provides for a quick and private transfer of your assets to your beneficiaries.

Yes, they are also known as Revocable Living Trusts, Intervivos Trusts, Grantor’s Trusts, and “Loving” Trusts. Although there may be some variation from one Trust to the next, they are essentially the same.