The Revocable Living Trust primarily serves two purposes. The first purpose is to create transfers of property, at the death of the Grantor, that are more complex than mere outright distributions. Meaning, distributions to beneficiaries are held until the beneficiary attains a certain age or until sometime in the future. Complex transfers can be handled using a traditional Last Will and Testament, but not as effectively as with the use of the Revocable Living Trust.
The second purpose of the Revocable Living Trust is to avoid probate. Probate is the process where the court oversees the transfer of assets from a decedent to a beneficiary according to the terms of the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. Many people seek to avoid probate because it is public, time consuming, and costly. Assets that are transferred into a Revocable Living Trust avoid probate. The benefits over probate are privacy, quicker distribution of assets, and potentially less cost.
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Michael L. Cahill is an attorney and certified public accountant providing estate planning, probate and tax services in the St. Petersburg, Seminole, Largo, Clearwater and Florida gulf beach communities.