A revocable trust or living trust is a written document providing for the management of your property which becomes effective while you are living, unlike a Last Will & Testament which takes effect after your death. A trust is set up for a trustee to manage your property for your benefit during your lifetime or in the event of your incapacity. Ordinarily, you serve as the sole trustee until you die or become incapacitated. After your death, the trust document will provide for your successor trustee to distribute any remaining property to those persons or beneficiaries you have chosen or provide for the continued management of your property by that successor trustee for many years, with the ultimate distribution as you direct. The primary advantage of a revocable trust over a will is that upon your death, the administration of your estate in probate court is avoided, and the distribution of your property is governed by your trust outside of the probate court system.
This normally results in a quicker and less costly distribution of your property to the beneficiaries you have selected. In addition, a revocable trust is a private document and hence your privacy & confidentiality are maintained. In this regard a trust is unlike a will which, if probated, normally requires the filing of a general inventory & appraisement of all your assets. When a revocable trust is fully funded by conveying all of our property into your trust during your lifetime, no probate of your estate is required.
A final advantage of a trust is that it can continue after your death, holding the property for the benefit of a spouse, a child or another named benefactor. This is especially useful in the event the spouse, child or other beneficiary is disabled. In this regards incorporation of a ‘special needs’ trust is inserted within your Trust indenture.
You should consult with an attorney who works extensively with estate planning for an explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of wills & trusts.