Using revocable trusts has become a popular and valuable estate planning strategy. A revocable trust, also called a living trust, is a legal tool that allows you to dictate how your property will be managed and distributed throughout your lifetime or upon your death. Revocable trusts are popular because they give the creator flexibility to change the terms of the trust and the beneficiaries during their lifetime.
Discuss Your Revocable Trust With a Mississippi Estate Planning Lawyer
Whether you would like to create your first estate plan or you’d like to incorporate a revocable trust into your estate plan, you need a skilled estate planning lawyer. At Palmer & Slay, PLLC, we will carefully review your goals and financial situation and advise you of the best legal options. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.
How Does a Revocable Trust Work?
In a revocable trust, the trust creator can change or even revoke the trust during his or her lifetime. The revocable trust’s grantor or creator will create the trust by signing the trust agreement. He or she will transfer money or property into the revocable trust. At that point, the revocable trust holds the property for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are the people or organizations who will receive the property when the creator passes away.
The trust’s creator appoints trustees who will manage the assets in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. One of the benefits of creating a revocable living trust is that the creator can appoint himself or herself as a trustee. The trust creator can appoint a successor trustee to take over the trustee’s duties upon his or her death.
The Difference Between Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
Trusts are either revocable or irrevocable. In a revocable trust, the trust creator can change the terms of the trust agreement until his or her death. Creators of revocable trusts have significant flexibility. After a major life event, such as a divorce, death, re-marriage, or birth of a child, the trust creator can alter the terms of the trust agreement.
The trust creator can also move property in and out of the trust freely during his or her lifetime. Irrevocable trusts cannot be amended or revoked during the creator’s lifetime, but they do offer more protection against creditors. Once the trust creator has transferred the property into an irrevocable trust, no one—including the trust creator—can take the property out of the trust.
Revocable Trusts Avoid the Probate Process
Creating a revocable trust offers significant advantages that are not available with a last will and testament. First, all of the property and assets you transfer into a revocable trust will be exempted from the probate process. When someone passes away in Mississippi, their estate, which includes all of their assets, goes through the probate process. As a result, the beneficiaries who will inherit the assets in the estate through the deceased person’s will must wait until the probate process is finished to obtain the assets.
The probate process is expensive and can be long and complex. When you create a revocable trust, your beneficiaries can avoid going to court to obtain their inheritance. By working with an estate planning lawyer to create a well-structured revocable trust, you can ensure your beneficiaries have access to your access immediately after your death.
When you pass away, the successor trustee you’ve appointed will take your place and manage the trust. He or she will distribute the assets in the trust according to your directions, as outlined in the trust agreement. Coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough. Your loved ones will benefit from knowing that they’ll be able to access the money you’ve designated for them after your death quickly and without going through a stressful probate process.
Revocable Trusts Give You Privacy
Another benefit involves privacy. When your estate goes through the probate process, it will be public. Anyone will be able to see how your assets were dispersed. When you create a revocable trust, all activities related to your trust and the dispersion of the assets to your beneficiaries will be strictly confidential. The process will not be published in the public record.
Revocable Trusts Give You Control Over Your Assets
As the creator, you have the legal authority to alter or undo the terms in the trust agreement. Many different circumstances can arise that would call for changes to be made to the trust agreement. Whether it’s a change in a relationship that leads you to change your mind about who should be the beneficiaries of your assets or experience death, illness, or divorce, you are in control.
As the creator of a revocable trust, you also have the authority to decide who will act as a trustee. In many cases, the trust creator will appoint himself or herself as a trustee. Additionally, if a husband and wife create a revocable trust together, they can both serve as trustees. As the trust creator, you have the authority to appoint people you trust to serve as trustees.
When necessary, you can revoke a trustee and appoint a new trustee. You can ensure that someone you trust will take over managing the trust after you pass away, protecting your assets and your surviving loved ones. Finally, you can also use a revocable trust to control the spending habits of a guardian that you’ve appointed for your minor children.
Contact a Mississippi Revocable Trust Lawyer
Many people assume that creating a comprehensive estate plan is only for wealthy individuals. On the contrary, everyone should have an estate plan to protect themselves and their loved ones after they die. If you have questions about creating a revocable trust and you’d like to discuss your estate plan with a skilled lawyer, Palmer & Slay, PLLC is here to help. Contact our Mississippi estate planning firm today to learn more about how we can help you protect yourself and your future.