What is a Revocable Living Trust?

October 21, 2013  |  William F. Huefner

A revocable living trust is one way to approach estate planning. People use revocable living trusts to bypass the probate process.
Think of a trust as a sort of legally created box. Once you create the box you can start filling it with your assets. This is known as “funding the trust.” The assets could be anything: bank accounts, real estate, cars, boats or anything else that you own. To fund it property is retitled into the appropriate trust.
As long as you’re still alive you’ll maintain total control over these assets. For example, if you place your house in the trust you would continue to live in the home, repair it or update it as you saw fit, and pay any and all bills associated with it. When you die, control of these assets will be in the hands of the successor trustee who can then transfer your assts to the beneficiaries.
Revocable living trusts will not end up in probate at all. They’re also harder to dispute than wills are, which makes them very attractive to people who are in difficult or complicated family situations.
However, revocable living trusts can’t handle every aspect of your estate planning process. You will still need a will. A will is the only document that can name a guardian for your children.
A good estate plan might well make use of both types of documents, so this is not an either-or situation.
If you live in Minnesota, you can call BGS for all of your estate planning needs. We’ve been giving legal advice since 1938.