Living Trusts Put You in Control
A living trust is a trust that you create during your lifetime; it allows you to manage your assets while protecting them should you become ill, disabled, or mentally incapacitated due to the simple process of aging. The majority of living trusts are written in such a manner that permits you to revoke them or amend them whenever you wish. Since family relationships can change over time, many individuals find revocable living trusts appealing.
Revocable living trusts do not allow individuals to avoid estate tax since having the power to revoke or amend them causes them to be included in your estate; however, revocable living trusts do help you avoid probate, which is another one of their attractive features. In contrast, the “irrevocable” living trust cannot be revoked or changed. A revocable “living trust” exists during your lifetime and has the following features:
- A trustee who currently serves (who might be you or you and a co-trustee)
- Has property which you have transferred during your lifetime
- Provides you with a vehicle for managing your property during your lifetime
Typically someone will establish a living trust where they will act as the trustee as long as they are willing and able, and when the individual dies, the successor trustee takes over and either distributes trust property to the individual’s beneficiaries or continues and holds the property for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Similar to a will, a living trust can direct the trustee to distribute your property upon your death; however, unlike a will it allows you to:
- Manage your property while you’re alive
- Authorize the trustee to manage your property for you and your family’s benefit if you become incapacitated, thereby avoiding the need to have a guardian appointed for that purpose
Looking for a lawyer to create a revocable living trust in Arizona?
You can create a revocable living trust in one of two ways: you can either create a trust within the same document as your will (testamentary trust), or you can create a trust outside of a will in a separate document called an inter vivos or living trust. A testamentary trust is one that is established after the death of the will-maker, whereas a living trust is created during the trust-maker’s lifetime. Revocable living trusts are powerful instruments that are often a component of a good estate plan.
To learn more about the estate planning tools available to you, contact a Arizona estate planning attorney from Ferris, Thompson & Zweig at (480) 543-8700.