More and more people are choosing a Revocable Trust (Living Trust) over a Will and joint ownership, and with good reason.   A Revocable Trust meets the needs of many of today’s families better than any other plan, and has far fewer risks.

Like a Will, a Revocable Trust is a legal document that lets you specify who you want to receive your assets after you die.  But it does much more.  Here are just some of the benefits:

  • It avoids the costs, delays, and publicity of probate.
  • It prevents the court from taking control of your assets if you become incapacitated.
  • It prevents the court from controlling assets you leave to minor children and grandchildren.
  • It can control all of your assets so you can be sure each person receives exactly what you want them to receive with no risk of unintentional disinheriting.
  • It can protect assets for your children if your surviving spouse should remarry.
  • It can include your authorization to protect assets, should you ever need care in a nursing home.

How is it that a Revocable Trust can do all this?  When you set up a Revocable Trust, you change the titles of your assets from your name to the name of your Trust, or arrange for the assets with beneficiary designation to automatically drop into your trust at your death.  Since you no longer own anything in your name, there is nothing for the courts to control when you die or if you become incapacitated.  You do not lose control of your assets—because you control the Trust.  You can buy, sell, and enjoy your assets just as you do now.  Because the Trust is revocable, you can take your assets out of the Trust at any time.

Revocable Trusts are not new and they are not gimmicks.  They have been used successfully for hundreds of years.  Even so, some people are reluctant to use a Revocable Trust because they have heard for so long that they should have a Will.  But, when they compare the costs and benefits of a Revocable Trust to a Will—and to the risks of joint ownership—most people prefer a Revocable Trust.

Is a Revocable Trust right for your situation? Like any estate planning tool, it has its benefits as well as its limitations.  Talking to a qualified estate-planning attorney is the best way to determine its suitability for you.