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Living Trusts - FAQs


What is a Living Trust?

A Living Trust is a document whereby a person known as a "Trustee" will manage property for the benefit of another. The person who makes a Living Trust is known as a "Settlor or Trustor." A Living Trust will specify for whose benefit the property is being managed, a "Beneficiary." A trust is considered a "Living" trust as it is created and takes effect during the lifetime of the Trustor.  At the Law Offices of Keith F. Carr we draft each Living Trust to fit your circumstances and wishes.

The person who makes the Living Trust usually designates himself or herself as a Trustee and Beneficiary. There may be more than one Trustee and Beneficiaries. Property is transferred into the Living Trust for management. A Living Trust is a useful tool to manage one's property and to avoid Probate court costs and expenses.

Will you ensure that my Living Trust is valid?

Yes.  Rest assured that your Living Trust will be reviewed and checked for validity and accuracy.

Do I need a Will if I have a Living Trust?

Yes. A Will will provide that all assets owned by you that have not been included in the Living Trust will be appointed to the Living Trust.  This is known as a "Pour Over" Will.

Are you going to give me instructions as to how to execute my Living Trust?

Yes. All Living Trusts come with an Instruction Sheet as to how to execute the Living Trust.

What is the difference between a Living Trust and a Will in terms of Probate?

You can dispose of your assets by will or living trust. Unlike a will, however, a living trust offers more flexibility and greatly reduces probate costs.

Like a will, a living trust is designed to transfer assets to your family members upon your death. However, you place all of your assets in a trust during your lifetime. In your living trust, you manager your assets as your own trustee of your trust for the benefit of yourself as a beneficiary.

Upon your death, the living trust continues with another trustee that you have chosen to succeed you. This successor trustee takes over for you in maintaining or disposing of the trust assets for the benefit of your heirs, whom you have named in the living trust during your life.

Notice then that the living trust has provided for continuity of your assets for the benefit of your heirs without the need or subsequent cost of probate court. To compare this with a will in probate court, your will must be probated in court first in order to even take effect. In order for this first event to take place, your estate must necessarily incur the costs and delay of filing and publishing a petition for probate. As part of the procedure, your executor must be appointed by the court, which entails a court hearing. If you have an attorney, you will be paying the attorney for his or her expertise at that hearing.

After appointment, the executor must obtain court approval for virtually any act he takes with regard to your assets. For instance, if he or she wishes to sell or rent your assets, the executor must obtain court approval. And, you guessed it, court approval requires a hearing in court and more delay. None of the delay and expense of probate would have occurred if you had prepared your living trust.