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Why a Revocable Living Trust?

You may have heard of a revocable living trust, but you don’t have any idea if you need one or how it differs from a will.

A revocable living trust is an estate planning document that you can use to determine who will get your property when you die. “Revocable” means you can change the terms anytime you want up until your death, and it is “living” because you make the trust during your lifetime. The trust will list your property, name a trustee (the person who will care for the property), and name who will get the property when you die.

It’s important to understand how a revocable living trust differs from a will and the advantages of each document.  With both of them, you can name beneficiaries for your property, leave your property to young children, and revise your document as your circumstances change. However, some advantages of a will are:

  • Naming guardians for your children
  • Naming managers for your children’s property
  • Naming an executor to manage your estate
  • Instructing how your debts or taxes should be paid
  • There is less cost to draft a will than a trust

A revocable living trust can provide many more advantages, including:

  • Avoiding costs of probate.  Probate is the court-supervised process of wrapping up a person’s estate.  It is expensive, time consuming, public, and a burden to a grieving family. Property left through a trust passes right to the beneficiaries without probate
  • Avoiding a conservatorship.  If you are incapacitated, your family can take over control of your assets without having to go to court
  • Keeping your personal information, such as amounts of assets and debts, private after your death.  Since probate is avoided by using a trust, all of your family’s information is kept out of the public probate process.

Revocable living trusts can be a useful estate planning tool for your family, and they have many advantages over wills.  Consult with a skilled Charlottesville estate planning lawyer today to determine if a revocable living trust is right for your family.

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