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Understanding Revocable Living Trusts

Estate planning is a critical aspect of ensuring that your assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes. One of the most versatile and commonly used tools in estate planning is the revocable living trust. This blog will delve into what a living trust is, how it works, and why it might be beneficial for you.

What Is a Living Trust?

A living trust, also known as a revocable living trust, is a legal document created during an individual’s lifetime that allows them to place their assets into a trust for their benefit during their life and then transfer those assets to designated beneficiaries upon their death. Because it can be altered or revoked at any time while the individual is alive, it provides flexibility in managing one’s estate.

Living Trust Definition

A living trust is a fiduciary arrangement where a trustee holds and manages assets on behalf of the trust’s beneficiaries. The person who creates the trust (the grantor) can also serve as the trustee, retaining full control over the assets within the trust during their lifetime.

Life Trust and Living Trust Fund

The terms “life trust” and “living trust fund” are often used interchangeably with living trust. They all refer to the same concept of a trust established during the grantor’s lifetime to manage and distribute assets.

Who Needs a Living Trust?

While not everyone needs a living trust, it can be particularly beneficial in certain situations:

  • Asset Management: This is for individuals who want professional management of their assets.
  • Incapacity Planning: Provides a mechanism for managing assets if the grantor becomes incapacitated.
  • Avoiding Probate: Helps avoid the probate process, which can be lengthy and costly.
  • Privacy: Unlike a will, a living trust is not a public document, thus offering privacy regarding the distribution of assets.

How to Create a Living Trust

Creating a living trust involves several steps, and it’s advisable to seek legal assistance to ensure everything is executed correctly. Here is a basic outline of the process:

  • Define Your Goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your living trust, such as asset protection, incapacity planning, or avoiding probate.
  • Draft the Trust Document: Work with an attorney to draft the living trust document, specifying the trustee, successor trustee, beneficiaries, and instructions for managing and distributing assets.
  • Transfer Assets: Transfer ownership of your assets to the trust. This can include real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal property.
  • Sign and Notarize: Sign the trust document in the presence of a notary public.
  • Maintain the Trust: Regularly update the trust to reflect changes in your assets or wishes.

Living Trust Documents

The primary document in setting up a living trust is the trust agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions under which the trust operates. Other documents may include asset transfer documents, such as deeds for real estate or title transfers for vehicles.

Define Living Trust

A living trust is defined as a legal arrangement created during an individual’s lifetime in which one party, the trustee, holds and manages assets for the benefit of another party, the beneficiary. The grantor retains control over the trust and its assets while they are alive, with provisions for managing and distributing the assets upon their death or incapacity.

What Is a Living Trust Fund?

A living trust fund refers to the collection of assets placed into the living trust. These assets can include cash, investments, real estate, and personal property. The trust fund is managed according to the terms set out in the trust agreement.

Setting Up a Living Trust

Setting up a living trust involves careful planning and consideration. It’s crucial to identify all assets you wish to include, choose a reliable trustee, and clearly outline your wishes for asset distribution. Partnering with experienced estate planning attorneys, like those at McBrien Armistead Law Group, can help ensure the process is smooth and legally sound.


A revocable living trust is a powerful tool for managing and protecting your assets during your lifetime and ensuring they are distributed according to your wishes after your death. By understanding what a living trust is and how to create one, you can make informed decisions about your estate planning needs.

If you are considering setting up a living trust, contact McBrien Armistead Law Group today. Our experienced attorneys can provide personalized guidance and support, helping you confidently navigate the complexities of estate planning.

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