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What Is a Living Trust?

There are two types of Living Trust: Revocable and Irrevocable.

A Revocable Living Trust may be amended or revoked by the person creating it (commonly known as a “trustor,” “grantor,” or “settlor”) at any time during the trustor’s lifetime, as long as the trustor is competent.

Once drafted and executed, an Irrevocable Living Trust may not be amended or revoked by the person creating it.

A trust is a written agreement between the individual creating the trust and the person or institution named to manage the assets held in the trust (the “trustee.”) In many cases, it is appropriate for you to be the initial trustee of your living trust, until management assistance is anticipated or required, at which point your trust should designate an individual or bank or trust company to act in your place. The terms of the trust become irrevocable upon the trustor’s death. Because the trust contains provisions which provide for the distribution o f your assets on and after your death, the trust acts as a substitute for your will, and eliminates the need for the probate of your will with respect to those assets which were held in your living trust at your death.

You should execute a will even if you have a living trust. That will is usually a “pour over” will which provides for the transfer of any assets held in your name at your death to the trustee of your living trust, so that those assets may be distributed in accordance with your wishes as set forth in your living trust.

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