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Revocable Living Trusts

What Are The Advantages Of A Revocable Living Trust?

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Protection from challenges

A trust is more difficult to challenge than a Will. (To learn more, see the section immediately above: "Anticipation of a Will contest"). This could be particularly important if your competency when you executed your Will could be questioned because of your health condition or because any ?rugs or treatments could be said to impair your competency. A higher degree of competency may be required in your state to create a trust than to execute a Will. For safety, you can also write a Will and provide what happens if a court finds that you were competent to write a Will, but not a trust.

Protect against incapacity

If the grantor/owner is incapacitated for any reason, the trust already names a successor trustee who can take over immediately. This eliminates the need for a guardian and any related disputes - at least with respect to the assets in the trust.

The elimination of a guardian means there will be no court supervision or interference with the administration of your assets in the event of your disability.


Because assets placed in a trust avoid probate, most states do not publicly disclose the details of a living trust. If you live in a state where the fact that a trust exists must be disclosed, that does not necessarily mean that its terms will be, so there is still an advantage of privacy.

According to the Journal Of Retirement Planning, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri and North Dakota all require public disclosure of a living trust and it is expected that more states will join this list. If this issue is of concern to you, check with an attorney to learn the law in your state. If your state has joined this list, please let us know by email to Survivorship A to Z.

Management by others

  • Someone else can be designated to manage the assets in the trust while you receive the income.
  • If you want to manage the assets in the trust yourself, you can provide that someone automatically becomes a replacement trustee to take over the trust's management if you become incapacitated.
  • You can also arrange in advance for the management of your property after your death, such as by having someone manage the assets of a minor until he or she is of age.


You get to see how the trust works and can continually make necessary adjustments. (Note: the adjustments have to be made with the same formality as is required for the creation of a trust.)

Ease of passing assets

Under a trust arrangement, your beneficiaries may receive assets more quickly than through a Will that has to go through probate. Provision can also be made in your Will that any assets not in the trust be "poured over" into the trust on the grantor's death. The trust can also be named beneficiary of a life insurance policy, retirement plan and contractual arrangements.

Pass assets to heirs in a manner not permitted in a Will

For example, you can leave money to a minor which doesn't actually pass to the minor until he or she reaches a certain age.

Use of out-of-state person to distribute your assets

If you want to use a person who lives in another state to administer your estate, it is usually easier if you use a trust than if you name the person as executor of your Will. You choose a trustee on your own, while your choice of personal representative/executor is subject to approval by the probate court. Probate judges tend to prefer residents of their state. In some cases, judges restrict appointment of a non-relative to state residents.

Spousal disinheritance

A living trust may be a way to disinherit your spouse. Consult your attorney.

Courts are not as involved as in the administration of a probate estate.

Do not expect a Revocable Living Trust to reduce or eliminate estate or income taxes. Because you retain control over the assets placed in a Revocable Living Trust, those assets are still part of your taxable estate.

The income that the trust earns is also taxable income to you, even if somebody else actually receives the income.

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