A Revocable Living Trust or otherwise known as a "Living Trust" is an estate planning and asset protection tool, which helps provide a smooth transition upon a death or incapacity. Unlike a will, a Revocable Living Trust avoids probate court and guardianship court. A will is a legal document, which distributes your property upon your death. A will does not deal with any planning issues while you are alive unlike a Revocable Living Trust.
Additionally, a Revocable Living Trust is a private document, which is not public information like a will. Typically, a Revocable Living Trust is coupled with a pour over will. A pour over will is a will, which only is applicable if you did not fully fund your Revocable Living Trust. Thus, a pour over will is a catchall exception, if you purchased an item like an automobile and forget to properly title it in your Revocable Living Trust's name. Often times, clients title new assets without much thought about their Revocable Living Trust. This is why we give our clients a written letter at the Trust Signing, which clearly describes the dos and don'ts for their Revocable Living Trust. Titling of one's assets are critical for your Revocable Living Trust to work as intended.
In my opinion, a Revocable Living Trust is a powerful asset protection tool because it minimizes disputes. Disputes are minimized because privacy protection simply does not give an adversary information to fight. For example, upon a person's death, no mailings are mailed to a disinherited relative like probate court. This invites a family conflict because a certified mailing must occur, which puts the person on high alert. With a Revocable Living Trust, the disputes often times resides because the person simply has no information to take an attorney and an attorney cannot attack the will like a living trust because often times, they have no access to the Revocable Living Trust.
In conclusion, a Revocable Living Trust is an excellent estate planning tool, which should be utilized. A Revocable Living Trust also is a cost-effective item, which reduces family conflicts and often times, a price cannot be put on continuing family harmony.
Sean Robertson is an estate planning and asset protection attorney. Sean Robertson can be reached at (312) 498-6080 or (630) 364-2318. Robertson Law Group, LLC has a downtown Chicago Office and Naperville Office.