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What is the Purpose of a Revocable Trust?


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Are you concerned about how your beneficiaries are going to manage their share of their inheritance following your passing? One option that enables you to still have some authority over your money–even after you pass–is having a revocable living trust (RLT). Key Takeaways

  • Revocable living trusts are trust documents devised by an individual that could be modified over time.
  • This type of trust is utilized to avoid probate and to safeguard the privateness of the trust owner and beneficiaries of the trust in addition to minimizing estate taxes.
  • Revocable trusts, nevertheless, have a lot of restrictions including the cost to have them written up, and they lack attributes of an irrevocable trust. of

Establishing the Living Trust

Trusts are established through a written agreement designating a trustee to manage the grantor’s property. A capable adult, if deemed so, can create a revocable living trust. The grantor, or creator, has the flexibility to appoint any capable adult or opt for a financial institution or trust company as the trustee. The grantor can also serve as the trustee during their lifetime. Once established, the grantor places assets—such as investments, bank accounts, and real estate—into the trust, transferring ownership to the trust. Since the assets belong to the trust, they bypass probate upon the grantor’s death, acting as a set of guidelines for posthumous asset administration. Despite the trust’s ownership, the grantor retains control while alive, with the ability to revise or modify it at will. The trust’s assets generate taxable income for the grantor, and distribution to beneficiaries occurs only after the grantor’s passing.

Revocable Trust

Benefits of the Living Trust

Avoiding probate is the primary benefit when you establish a living trust, but other benefits such as privacy safeguarding and adaptability make it a wise choice.

Probate Avoidance

Probate is a legal process for the transference of your property when you pass away. It requires submitting documentation to the probate court and undergoing a multistep process – or processes when there are assets or property in multiple states. Establishing a revocable living trust avoids costly probate proceedings, enabling assets to be transferred to beneficiaries quicker. Assets named in the trust circumvent the expensive courts and usually take priority over the property specified in your will.

Modifiable and Adaptable

Living trusts allows you to make modifications (or changes) to your trust document while you are still living, at your own volition.

Privacy Preservation

Revocable trusts are a wise choice for individuals concerned with retaining records and details about assets private after their passing. The probate process wills are subject to could make your estate an open-book because documents entered in it turn into public record, available to everyone.

Elimination of Challenges to the Estate

A standard will might create family conflict at your passing and be contested for alteration by any member of your family. When using your trust, you can, in particular disinherit individuals that poses a challenge to your wishes when you pass.

Separation of Assets

This is beneficial for married couples that have significant separate property that was obtained before the marriage. The trust can assist in separating those assets from their joint property assets.

Assignment of Durable Power of Attorney/Guardianship

Living trusts can be used for the assistance of management a guardian’s spending practices for the interest of your minor children. They can also permit another individual to act on your behalf should you become debilitated and require an individual to make decisions for you. If you become incapacitated or disabled, your trust can automatically name your trustee to administer it and your financial matters devoid of the requirement to acquire durable power of attorney.

Uninterrupted Management

This enables the capital that you have accrued to continually grow for several generations by utilizing a professional trustee for the management of your property. You can restrict the number of withdrawals to just income, with special emergency requirements should you want.

Estate Tax Minimization

Whereas the revocable living trust is not a good tax minimization device by itself, terms can be included in the trust documents to transfer capital with the establishment of a credit shelter trust should you pass away. The credit shelter trust is a very effective device to help decrease estate taxes for larger estates that surpass the collective estate tax exclusion amount.

Disadvantages of the Living Trust

Whereas there are a lot of advantages for the establishment a revocable living trust, it also comes with drawbacks:

Cost of Planning

The establishment of a revocable living trust requires significant legal help, which is going to be costly. A commonplace living trust could cost $2,000+, whereas a typical last will and testament may be written up for around $150 or so.

Maintaining Trust Books and Records

After the trust is created, your work is not finished. A lot of individuals need to monitor it annually and make modifications as required (trusts do not adjust systematically to changed situations, like divorce or a child being born). You should think about the added inconvenience of making sure future assets are continually registered in the trust and providing other individuals with accessibility to the trust documentation to examine trustee powers and responsibilities.

Retitling of Property

After the trust gets established, property needs to be retitled in the name of the trust. This needs added time, and occasionally fees apply to processing title modifications.

Minimal Asset Protection

Contrary to what people believe, revocable living trusts provide very little asset safeguarding if you keep an ownership interest, like appointing yourself as trustee.

Administrative Expenses

Anticipate contending with added professional costs like investment advisory and trustee costs when you appoint a financial institution or a trust company as the trustee.

No Tax Break

For all your sweat and tears, you are not going to receive a tax benefit from your revocable trust. The assets in the trust are going to continually acquire taxes on their gains and/or income and are liable to creditors and legal actions.

Un-Anticipated Problems

Challenges can arise, including problems with title insurance, Sub-chapter S stock, and real estate in other countries, creating a host of new complications. Additionally, inadequate education of your spouse about the trust’s condition and purpose may lead to further issues.

In Conclusion

Revocable trusts offer increased privacy, more control, and greater flexibility in asset distribution compared to wills. A revocable living trust simplifies and accelerates the estate disposition process, but it demands more effort and incurs higher costs. While it provides upfront advantages, consulting with a trustworthy professional specializing in estate planning is essential before delving into such a significant legal undertaking.


  1. Palmer, B. (2020, October 22). Should you set up a revocable living trust? Retrieved April 20, 2021, from

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