The Option to Dissolve: Understanding Revocable Living Trusts

Estate plans can include a number of legal instruments, including wills, powers of attorney and trusts. Choosing the right estate planning tools ensures that your assets are distributed exactly as you wish upon your death.

There are primarily two types of trusts: irrevocable and revocable. Revocable “living” trusts can be modified or canceled within the grantor’s lifetime, while irrevocable trusts cannot.

Here is a brief overview of revocable living trusts.

What is a revocable trust?

Trusts allow a person with assets (the grantor or settlor) to designate a fiduciary (the trustee) to hold and manage assets for the benefit of another (the beneficiaries). In a revocable, or living trust, the grantor can enjoy the benefits of the trust property for the rest of his/her life. The grantor has the option to dissolve or revoke the trust at any given time.

What can be placed into a trust? The answer, is just about anything; bank accounts, real estate, businesses, fine art, jewelry and more. James Bart Leonardi, LLC can offer expert advice as to how to fund your living trusts, and ensure they’re managed appropriately.

Why choose a living trust?

Revocable trusts are a smart way to avoid probate. If the grantor dies while the trust is in effect, the assets in trust will not have to go through probate court. This avoids a long, drawn-out proceeding in your family’s time of grief. Further, they can control distributions to children over time so they don’t receive a lump sum payment at a young age.

Living trusts can also help reduce estate taxes, particularly upon the death of the surviving spouse—which is great news for your beneficiaries. Living trusts also ensure your assets stay private. Many people do not realize that probated records are accessible to the public. This means, if your assets go through probate, the contents of your estate will be available for anyone to view. Since trusts avoid probate, your family’s privacy remains protected.

There are many additional benefits to having a living trust. Attorney Bart Leonardi is one of only thirty-three certified specialists in probate, trust & estate planning in the Cleveland, Ohio area. This means he has the knowledge and expertise to properly advise you in all of your estate planning needs.

Dissolving a trust

If your trust no longer suits your needs, you may dissolve it at any time. Dissolving a trust consists of defunding the trust (moving assets elsewhere) and then creating a trust revocation document. After all, your trust required a document to create; it also needs one to dissolve. You will also need to notify trustees, successor trustees, banks and other financial institutions as needed. Estate planning attorney Bart Leonardi can help you draft an appropriate trust revocation document, and contact the appropriate parties.

For comprehensive estate planning help, call James Bart Leonardi, LLC today.

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