There are a variety of legal documents one must consider under the umbrella of estate planning. One that is often overlooked or deemed as unnecessary is a revocable trust. But that could not be farther from the truth.
Often referred to as a living trust, a revocable trust often serves as a solution for a wide variety of problems associated with estate planning that wills cannot address. A revocable trust can help with management of your assets or protect you should you become ill, disabled or simply challenged by the symptoms of aging. Revocable trusts are written to permit you to revoke or amend them whenever you wish to do so.
While a revocable trust is in place during your lifetime, you are the trustee who is responsible for managing your property as you direct for your benefit. After your death, it becomes the successor trustee's responsibility to distribute the trust property to your beneficiaries, or to continue to hold it and manage it for the benefit of your beneficiaries.
So in that regard, it is like a will. But unlike a will, it serves a role while a person remains alive but is unable to manage his or her own assets.
As a result, there are two aspects of a revocable trust that are extremely beneficial. First, it can avoid conflict among family members should you become incapacitated, or after your passing. Second, it can help avoid the need for probate court and having the legal system supervise the division of your assets.