Asset Protection Strategies and Trusts

Revokable Living Trust Definition

A Revokable Living Trust (also known as a Family Trust or Living Trust) is used primarily to avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, preserve your privacy, and manage your financial affairs.

Using your revokable Trust

One of the main keys to effective estate planning is using your revokable living trust correctly.
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Definition of a Trust

In general, a "trust" is a legal entity that is able to own property and other assets. It is one of the oldest and best defined relationships known in the law. The Babylonians used trusts, and every society since then has used some sort of trust relationship. Essentially, it is established by a legal agreement defining how assets are going to be managed and distributed. Property can legally be transferred into the trust and have the trust own it. Different trusts have different types of classifications in the law and for tax purposes.

Roles in a Trust

One person (the "grantor") gives up property or "grants" property to another person (the "trustee"), who is "trusted" by the grantor. The trustee is trusted to take care of the property and use the property, not for himself, but for the "benefit" of a third person (the beneficiary). The terms "trustee" and "beneficiary" are standard in every trust. However, the term "grantor" is often times replaced by "settlor", "creator", or "trustor". Often times, one person takes on more than one role in the trust (and in a revokable Living Trust, you will probably be the grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiary all at the same time).

The trust document tells the trustee what he or she is supposed to do with the property, and the trustee is bound by law to follow the exact instructions given by the trust. The trustee is bound by a "fiduciary duty" to handle the property exactly as the trust directs (sometimes the trustee is referred to as a "fiduciary".

The Revokable Living Trust (or Family Trust)

A Revokable Living Trust (also known as a Family Trust or Living Trust) is used primarily to avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, preserve your privacy, and manage your financial affairs.

A Revokable Living Trust is a trust established while you are living. It is revokable, so you are able to make changes whenever you want, as well as reclaim the property transferred into it. It describe how your property should be managed while you are alive, and how it should be distributed upon your death. It is often called a family trust.

Avoiding Probate and Protecting Privacy with a Trust

Normally, if a person without a trust dies, there must be a probate process to determine how to distribute all of the property held solely in the decedent's name. A Will can help the probate court to determine where the property should go, but does not avoid the probate process. In fact, one primary purpose of probate is to validate the "last will" if one exists. Probate is a public procedure and opens up an estate's distribution to the public eye.

When you have correctly set up and used a Revokable Living Trust, upon your death there will be no probate process. This is because the owner of the property (the Trust) did not die; just the person in the role of the grantor (you) and most likely the trustee (usually you while you are alive).

By a Different Name

In the Western United States, where the trusts are more popular, the terminology "Revokable Living Trust" is being referred to as an "LRT". Lawyers used to call the trust an "inter vivos revokable trust" (inter vivos is Latin for "between the living"). The Revokable Living Trust is also commonly called an "A-B Trust", a "C Trust", a "Family Trust", a "Shelter Trust", a "Common Trust", a "QTIP (Qualified Terminable Interest Property) Trust," and a dozen other names. Some books call it a "Loving Trust" because it is established for the people you love.

More Information on Revokable Living Trusts

FREE DVD on Revokable Living Trusts
Click here for a Free DVD
This DVD is your guide to understanding estate planning, including revokable living trusts.

My book, Protecting Your Financial Future, gives you all the basic information for understanding Revokable Living Trusts, including:

  • How to Name Your Trust
  • How to Pick Your Trustee
  • How to Use an Attorney (and not get "used")
  • How to Make a Trust Legal
  • How to Fund Your Trust
  • How to Avoid Attorney Shams
  • How to Make your Trust Really Avoid Probate
  • Which Property to Put Into Your Trust (and how)
  • How to Deal with Life Insurance, IRAs, etc.
  • Making Your Will & Trust Work Together

and much, much more. It will give you all the foundation you need to be able to make wise decisions when having an attorney set up your estate plan.

But if you'd like to establish your own estate plan, the Accumulation and Preservation of Wealth System gives you all the knowledge and proper legal documents to properly set up, fund, and maintain your own Revokable Living Trust and other "tools of wealth".


sp. Revokable Trust

aka Inter Vivos Trust

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Revocable Living Trusts
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Last Will and Testament
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Lee R. Phillips
Lee Phillips - estate planning attorney and speaker

Estate planning attorney and renowned national speaker Lee R. Phillips reveals the valuable information that will protect you and your family from costly probate, estate taxes, lawsuits, and other mishaps of our legal and financial system.

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