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Home Law Practices Estate Planning
Estate Planning - Lawyer - San Diego - Irvine
Article Index
Estate Planning
What is estate Planning?
What is involved in estate planning?
Who needs estate planning?
What is included in my estate?
What is a will?
What is a revocable living trust?
What is probate?
To whom should I leave my assets?
Whom Should I name as my executor or trustee?
How should I provide for my minor children?
When does estate planning involve tax planning?
How does the way in which I hold title make a difference?
What are other methods of leaving property?
What if I become unable to care for myself?
Who should help me with my estate planning documents?
Should I beware of someone who is a
What are the costs involved in estate planning?
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What is a revocable living trust?

A revocable living trust is also commonly referred to as a revocable inter vivos trust, a grantor trust or, simply, a living trust. A living trust may be amended or revoked by the person creating it (commonly known as a "trustor," "grantor," or "settlor") at any time during the trustor's lifetime, as long as the trustor is competent.

A trust is a written agreement between the individual creating the trust and the person or institution named to manage the assets held in the trust (the "trustee.") In many cases, it is appropriate for you to be the initial trustee of your living trust, until management assistance is anticipated or required, at which point your trust should designate an individual or bank or trust company to act in your place. The terms of the trust become irrevocable upon the trustor's death. Because the trust contains provisions which provide for the distribution of your assets on and after your death, the trust acts as a substitute for your will, and eliminates the need for the probate of your will with respect to those assets which were held in your living trust at your death.

You should execute a will even if you have a living trust. That will is usually a "pour over" will which provides for the transfer of any assets held in your name at your death to the trustee of your living trust, so that those assets may be distributed in accordance with your wishes as set forth in your living trust.

The State Bar has published a pamphlet entitled "Do I Need a Living Trust?" which provides more detailed information about trusts. You may obtain a free copy of the pamphlet by contacting the State Bar.

You should consult with a qualified estate planning lawyer to assist you in the preparation of a living trust, will and other estate planning documents. Further, inasmuch as living trusts are not automatically subject to probate court jurisdiction, the choice of a trustee to manage and control your property is an extremely important decision.