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Living Trust Form (Revocable)

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Living Trust Form (Revocable)

Updated May 09, 2024

A living trust is a legal document that allows an individual (grantor) to place assets under the management of a trustee, who can be the grantor or another party. The trustee is responsible for safeguarding the trust’s assets during the grantor’s lifetime. The trust’s assets will be transferred to the beneficiaries upon the grantor’s death.

Also known as an ‘inter vivos trust.’

By State

How to Create a Living Trust (6 steps)

  1. Identifying Property
  2. Choosing Trustees
  3. Selecting Beneficiaries
  4. Signing

1. Identifying Property

person reviewing title of property

The grantor should take an inventory of the properties to be entered into the trust. This should include all real estate, personal property, retirement accounts, business interests, and any other valuables the grantor owns.

2. Choosing Trustees

person meeting with successor trustee of their living trust

A trust will commonly have two types of trustees:

  1. Initial Trustee: Manages the trust during the grantor’s lifetime. For revocable trusts, this is commonly the grantor.
  2. Successor Trustee: Manages the trust if the grantor becomes incapacitated or dies. They will be responsible for distributing the property and assets of the trust to the beneficiaries.

Successor Trustee (recommendation)

It is recommended that the successor trustee be a beneficiary of the trust. Therefore, if decisions need to be made prior to distribution, the motivation will be to make them in the best interests of the trust.

3. Selecting Beneficiaries

person meeting with beneficiary

The beneficiaries are the individuals who will inherit the trust’s property after the grantor’s death. They are usually the spouse or family members of the grantor.

4. Signing

person signing the living trust form

Most states do not have signing requirements. However, to prove a living trust was created, it is recommended to be signed by two witnesses and a notary public.

When signing, the grantor is recommended to use a self-proving affidavit.

Trusts: Revocable vs Irrevocable

Revocable Trust Irrevocable Trust
Does the Trust avoid the probate process?
Can amend or revoke the Trust?
Beneficiaries MUST pay estate taxes?
Grantor MUST pay income taxes during their lifetime?
Grantor is LIABLE for actions made by the Trust?

Revocable Living Trust vs. Last Will and Testament

Revocable Trust Last Will and Testament
Probate Process Required? No Yes
Create a Trust for Minors? Allowed Allowed
Choose a Guardian for Minors? Not allowed Allowed
Is this a public document? No, unless there are registration requirements under State law that allows the document to be viewable. Yes, when the probate process begins.
What happens when the creator becomes incapacitated? The successor trustee steps in to handle the Trusts’s assets. A court will have to appoint someone to oversee the Grantor’s assets (unless appointed in a durable power of attorney).