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How does a Revocable Living Trust work?
With a revocable living trust, the trustee, who could be yourself, is able to buy and sell assets. It is important to know that you can revoke the trust at any time if you choose. Nothing really changes except the title as trustee. During any period of incapacity, the co-trustee or successor trustee takes control of the assets until you recover. If you pass away, the assets remain in control of the surviving trustee. The surviving trustee could be your spouse, a bank, or other person.
Transferring assets into a revocable living trust is not a difficult job. However, it usually requires the help of an attorney, an accountant, financial advisor, insurance agent, or bank trustee for assistance. Furthermore, title on all deeds to real estate, whether owned in state or out of state, plus all stocks, bonds, bank accounts, certificates of deposit, retirement account, insurance benefits, and other investments must be transferred to the trust. The living trust can also include tangible property such as jewelry, art, clothing, furniture, and other assets that do not have formal titles. If your insurance polices have named beneficiaries, then such policies must be changed to avoid court intervention if the beneficiary becomes incapacitated or dies before you do.
When setting up a trust, it is important to name an alternative trustee if you should become incapacitated. Such alternate can be your spouse, another family member, or as stated above a corporation such as a banking institution.
Setting up a trust does take a little time to complete, and it usually requires the assistance of professionals such as an attorney. However, setting up a revocable living trust can avoid probate and substantial attorney fees at a later date.