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How does a Revocable Trust Avoid Probate?

Explanation of Living Trusts.

A trust is a legal entity which is capable of owning financial assets, real estate, and/or other property. A testamentary trust, as explained above, is a trust created by the Probate Court pursuant to trust provisions written into your Last Will & Testament. A testamentary trust does not take effect until after your death and generally not until after your Executor has completed the initial phase of probate.

A living trust is a trust that you create while you are living. Using a living trust as your primary estate planning tool means that your estate will not go through probate upon your death. You create a living trust by signing a contractual document called a "Trust Agreement." With a revocable trust, you are typically the trustee of your own trust until your death. Upon your death, a successor trustee who you have named takes over as trustee of the trust and, after paying any valid debts, expenses, and taxes, distributes the trust assets to or for the benefit of your named beneficiaries or, if called for in the trust, continues to hold the trust assets until the occurrence of a predetermined event. The main feature of a living trust is that the trustee is not accountable to the court, and therefore not subject to probate. Many people therefore use a living trust as their primary estate planning tool in order to make things easier for their trusted loved ones by avoiding the time and complications of probate. There may also be some advantages to you by using a living trust to consolidate your assets and simplify your finances. On the other hand, some people like the idea of court supervision and therefore prefer that their estate go through probate, and some people simply prefer not to spend the extra money it typically takes to create a living trust.

For Additional Information:

What is Probate?
Why Most People Want to Avoid Probate
What is a Revocable Living Trust?

What About Irrevocable Living Trusts?
Choosing a Trustee
Avoiding Estate Taxes
Estate Planning Glossary