Thursday, May 9, 2013

Living Trust Definition - What is a Living Trust?

The best living trust definition is a written legal document which substitutes for a will as your primary estate planning vehicle. When you have a trust you transfer your assets such as your home, financial accounts and personal property to the trust. In addition you change the beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of retirement accounts and life insurance to the trust. These assets are then administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and either continue to be held or transferred to your beneficiaries when you die.

The creator, also called the grantor, of the trust usually names him or herself as the initial trustee in charge of managing the assets. This allows the grantor to remain in control of the assets during his or her lifetime. For all practical purposes under this living trust definition, nothing changes in the way the grantor manages or controls the assets after they are put in trust. The only difference is the named owner.

A successor trustee is named in the document, usually a family member or friend but sometimes an institution such as a bank or trust company. This successor trustee then will manage the trust assets for benefit of the grantor if the grantor becomes disabled and for the contingent beneficiaries after the grantor dies.

This living trust definition is for the revocable living trust. It is also sometimes referred to as a revocable inter vivos or a grantor trust. It may be revoked or amended at any time by the grantors as long as they are still competent.

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