Why Have a Revocable Trust? A Legal Perspective

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A revocable living trust (RLT) can be a great estate planning tool. They can help you avoid probate and shorten the period between an owner’s death and the heirs’ access to the assets. In addition, an RLT can also make things easier for your family if you become disabled. In that case, your successor trustee can manage the trust in the event you can’t. Finally, trusts are private; estates (and the probate process) are not.

Revocable Living Trust to Avoid Probate

An RLT is an entity that becomes the owner of your property and you can serve as the trustee over that property. Thus, you continue to manage the assets as the trustee, but the trust holds legal title over the assets rather than you. As its name implies, the trust can be revoked so long as the person setting it up is still alive and competent. It is set up under the individual’s own Social Security number. In the event you become disabled, or upon your death, the successor trustee named in the trust documents will be able to manage and dispose of your assets on behalf of the beneficiaries of the estate without having to obtain a conservatorship (for incapacity) or go through probate (for death).

A revocable living trust requires several parties:

  • Trust res or property – given to the trust by appropriate documentation
  • Settlor/Trustor – the individual giving property to the trust; his/her tax ID number is used for the trust
  • Trustee – initial trustee in an RLT is the same as the settlor/trustor
  • Successor Trustee – the person who will manage and carry out the trust instructions upon settlor’s/trustor’s death or disability
  • Beneficiaries – those who will benefit under the RLT

Why Is a Revocable Living Trust Better Than a Will?

An RLT is better than a will for a lot of reasons. First, in the event of your disability or death, the successor trustee will have virtually immediate access to the trust assets. There won’t be a need for a a conservatorship action or the filing of probate. Second, because a trust does not have to be filed with a court, it gives you and your beneficiaries privacy that isn’t possible with a will. The RLT document is not usually filed with the court.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Revocable Trust Lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina

If you are considering putting a Revocable Living Trust in place, you should consult with an experienced Columbia trust attorney immediately. Schedule an appointment with Parker Law, LLC today. Contact our offices today at 803.918.5164.

Revocable Living Trust FAQs

Can I get the property back from an RLT?

Yes. The reason RLTs are called revocable is that, unlike the case of an irrevocable trust, you can “revoke” your gift to the trust and reclaim your property.

Who owns the property in the RLT?

When a trust is created, the trust itself becomes the “legal” owner of the property while the beneficiaries have the beneficial interest. In an RLT, those interests often coincide, and the settlor/trustor, trustee, and beneficiary may all be the same.

Do I need a lawyer for an RLT?

If you want to create an RLT for your property or with your spouse, you should contact an attorney with experience in revocable living trust matters as soon as possible. Call us today at 803-918-5164 to schedule a consultation.

Yes. The drafting and execution of an RLT should involve an estate planning attorney. Similarly, the retitling of assets from the settlor to the trust should involve an estate planning attorney.

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