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Washington Living Trust Form (Revocable)

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Updated January 25, 2024

The Washington living trust is an entity into which a person places property and other assets to benefit from during their lifetime and to bequeath unto their named Beneficiaries when they die. The trust is managed by an appointed Trustee; often the Grantor (creator of the trust) will name themselves Trustee, although this is not permitted if they have chosen an irrevocable trust. Once the Grantor dies, the Trustee will distribute assets within the trust to the Beneficiaries. If they are not of age, the Trustee maintains control over the assets. In the event that the Grantor becomes mentally incapacitated, the Trustee continues to manage the Grantor’s assets instead of a court-appointed conservator (which would occur if no trust is in place.) The main advantage of both a revocable and irrevocable living trust is to avoid probate court, which is often a lengthy and costly process. Assets placed in an irrevocable trust are owned by the trust and will be protected from creditors and could minimize estate taxes.

Laws – Chapter 11.98 RCW (Trusts)

Will (Last Will and Testament) – A will does not take effect until a person dies, whereas a living trust can benefit the Grantor during their lifetime. The contents of a person’s will are distributed to the executor’s chosen heirs in probate. A living trust is dealt with outside of probate and the contents are kept private, unlike a will which is made public record.


Irrevocable – An irrevocable trust cannot be amended once it has been signed but can help save on estate taxes and can protect a person from lawsuits and creditor claims. Ownership of the assets is transferred from the Grantor to the trust.

Revocable – A revocable trust can be altered at any point during the Grantor’s lifetime and any assets placed within it can be reclaimed. Ownership of these assets still technically belongs to the Grantor.

Individual Roles

Grantor – Individual who creates the trust.

Trustee – Individual in charge of managing the contents of the trust and distribution of assets to Beneficiaries upon the Grantor’s death. Grantor can appoint themselves Trustee.

Successor Trustee – Individual who will oversee administration of the trust in the event that the Grantor becomes mentally incapacitated and will distribute the assets of the trust once the Grantor dies. This applies only if the Grantor has appointed themselves Trustee.

Beneficiaries – Individuals to which the contents of the trust will be bequeathed.

How to Make a Living Trust in Washington

In accordance with RCW 11.98.011, a trust can be created by an individual if they are of sound mind and have indicated their intention to do so without outside influence.  The Grantor appoints a Trustee to manage the living trust (they can appoint themselves unless it is a revocable trust) and a Successor Trustee to take over control if something where to happen to the Grantor or Trustee. The Grantor cannot be the sole Trustee or the sole Beneficiary. It’s good practice to have a notary public present when signing a living trust agreement. Once the trust has been created and signed, all assets should be transferred into the trust. Any assets not transferred into a person’s living trust should be included in a “pour-over” will, which will eliminate any legal and familial complications in the future.

Real Estate – When placing property into a living trust, the Grantor must complete a Washington General Warranty Deed or a Washington Quit Claim Deed.

Motor Vehicles – Transferring a vehicle to a living trust means transferring the title from the Grantor’s name to the name of the trust. Oftentimes, a Washing Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale is required.

Financial Accounts – Transferring financial accounts to a living trust is usually a simple process wherein the Grantor shows the branch or account manager a copy of the trust documents and switches the account ownership from Grantor to the trust. Sometimes, a financial institution will demand that a new account be opened under the trust name instead.

Do I Need a Living Trust in Washington?

The probate process in Washington is relatively inexpensive and could cost less than the ongoing maintenance of a trust. On the other hand, each state has slightly different probate procedures and placing out-of-state property into a Washington living trust will help avoid any dilemmas in distributing these properties to the Beneficiaries. If a person does not want their assets to be made public record after they die, a living trust will be distributed privately. Irrevocable living trusts have the added benefit of minimizing estate taxes and protecting assets from creditors and lawsuits. However, anyone with a small estate will be advised that a living trust is superfluous and will cost them more money than it’s worth. According to Chapter 11.62 RCW, an estate valued at $100,000 or less can be claimed with a Washington Small Estate Affidavit by heirs of the deceased within 40 days without going through probate.