Living Trusts Law and Legal Definition
What is a Trust?
A Trust is an entity which owns assets for the benefit of a third person (beneficiary). A Living Trust is an effective way to provide lifetime and after-death property management and estate planning. When you set up a Living Trust, you are the Grantor; anyone you name within the Trust who will benefit from the assets in the Trust is a beneficiary. In addition to being the Grantor, you can also serve as your own Trustee (Original Trustee). As the Original Trustee, you can transfer legal ownership of your property to the Trust. This can save your estate from estate taxes when you die. Just remember that it does not alleviate your current income tax obligations.
What is an Irrevocable Trust? A trust created during the maker's lifetime that does not allow the maker to change it.
What is a Revocable Trust? A trust that can be amended and revoked, usually by the person who established the trust. This trust may become irrevocable and unamendable when the only person who can amend or revoke the trust dies or becomes incompetent.
What is a Living Trust? A living trust is a trust established during a person's lifetime in which a person's assets and property are placed within the trust, usually for the purpose of estate planning. The trust then owns and manages the property held by the trust through a trustee for the benefit of named beneficiary, usually the creator of the trust (settlor). The settlor, trustee and beneficiary may all be the same person. In this way, a person may set up a trust with his or her own assets and maintain complete control and management of the assets by acting as his or her own trustee. Upon the death of the person who created the trust, the property of the trust does not go through probate proceedings, but rather passes according to provisions of the trust as set up by the creator of the trust.
Will a Living Trust avoid probate? Perhaps the biggest advantage of a living trust is that it does not have to go through probate, as does a will. However, there are other estate planning devices which avoid probate, such as a joint tenancy, a life insurance policy, and others.
Can a Living Trust be Contested? Yes. A trust can be contested in a special proceeding. There is no blanket rule that a living trust cannot be contested.