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What is a revocable trust, and how does it work?

Unless you have few possessions or assets, and just one or two heirs, it’s unlikely that a will would be sufficient for your estate plan. Your will is the foundation of your plan, but there are a number of other documents available to help you control your assets and keep your estate out of probate after you die.

For example, the revocable trust is one of the most useful tools available to you. It’s one of the most popular types of trusts used in estate planning because of its flexibility.

What are the advantages of a revocable trust?

Trusts work when the person who creates the trust, or “trustor,” legally transfers assets into the trust. Those assets can include your house or other real estate, bank accounts and investments — anything that you own. Once in the trust, those assets become the responsibility of the trustee, which can be you, someone you trust, or the two of you as co-trustees. The trustee’s job is to manage the assets according to your directions and for your benefit.

Meanwhile, with a revocable trust, also known as a living trust, you continue to use the property during your lifetime. And once you pass away, the trustee distributes the items according to your instructions, or continues to manage them for the benefit of your beneficiaries — often your children or other family members.

By “revocable,” we mean that the terms of the trust can be changed any time. You can remove things from the trust, or add new valuables. You can also change who the trustee is and who the beneficiaries are.

Finally, though a revocable trust does not impact your ability to avoid estate taxes, it will help you minimize the time your estate spends in probate court, which can save your loved ones considerable time and expense.

Learn more about your options

If you are interested in learning more about revocable trusts and other estate planning tools, an experienced estate planning attorney can answer all of your questions.

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