Living Trust – The Living Trust is the centerpiece of an Estate Plan. When a person or persons execute(s) a Living Trust, they then hold the ownership of their main assets as Trustee(s). They name one or more successor Trustees to serve them during any period of incapacity or incompetence, as well as at their death. In doing so, they have given the successor Trustee the legal power act for them, without having to go through any Court procedures – saving tens of thousands of dollars in Probate Court fees and costs
The Living Trust document is typically divided into articles that include provisions for complete control of all assets for the benefit of the owner(s) (the legal term usually used is either “Settlor” or “Trustor”) of the Living Trust during his/her/their lifetime, provisions listing the beneficiaries and what they are to receive at the death of the owner / second owner, a listing of persons who are to serve as successor Trustee(s), as well as standard required general provisions. Because it is a Revocable Living Trust, the terms of the Trust can be changed at any time and the owner(s) has/have complete control over all the assets assigned to the Living Trust, just as they did before that transfer.
Once the Trust is executed, the majority of the assets, including any real property is placed in the name of the Trust. In case of severe health issues and/or death, the successor Trustee takes care of the finances / settlement of the estate, with no assistance/interference by the courts. Distribution at death takes weeks instead of years of Probate, or, instead or in addition, ongoing trusts, within the Living Trust, may be established for underage or disabled beneficiaries, etc.