Revocable Living Trusts
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Revocable Living Trusts or "Inter vivos" trusts are estate planning documents known as "will substitutes" that can help one avoid probate. "Inter vivos" is Latin for "among the living". Essentially, with a Revocable Living Trust, the "Grantor" (the person establishing the trust) transfers all of his or her assets into a separate legal vehicle called a "trust" and provides instructions to a "trustee" for how he wants those assets administered, sold and otherwise disposed of during his or her life and after death. Because the Grantor's property is in the name of the trust, and not the Grantor himself, the Grantor ideally legally owns no titled assets and thus there is nothing to probate.
The trustee can be the same person as the Grantor, so essentially one can have maximum flexibility to control the property in the trust just as he or she would have done so before the transfer to the trust. Moreover, because the trust can be revoked while the Grantor is alive, the Grantor can terminate the trust and transfer all the property back into his or her name at any time.
In Georgia, sometimes the benefits of Revocable Living Trusts can be overstated. The probate process in Georgia is not as bad as in other states. Moreover, there are any misconceptions about what a Revocable Living Trust can do. A Revocable Living Trust avoids probate, but it does not, in and of itself, offer any estate tax avoidance or asset protection from creditors. Estate tax provisions can however be added to a Revocable Living Trust. Generally, Revocable Living Trusts are more expensive than wills because there is more work to do in drafting and property transfers at the inception of the trust.
In order to obtain maximum benefit, one must understand the difference between probate and non-probate assets.
In Georgia, revocable living trusts can be excellent estate planning vehicles when a person wishes to avoid probate, particularly in multiple states or jurisdictions. This could happen if the Grantor owns real property or owns assets in multiple states or countries. Another advantage of a revocable living trust is that the affairs of the Grantor are kept out of the public record. Because no will is used to transfer assets, not inventories and schedules of assets are made public, and the property disposition provisions are not disclosed in the public record.
Is a revocable living trust the right choice for you? Every estate is different, and it really depends on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. If you would like to discuss estate planning, then Charles Scholle can help. Since 1995, he has represented Georgia individuals and families seeking to minimize their estate and gift tax liability via legal, established trust vehicles and planning techniques. If you would like estate planning advice, then please contact Charles Scholle for a free consultation today. From a main office in Gwinnett County, he represents clients throughout Metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia. To learn more about your rights and your options, please contact the Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle online or call toll-free at 866-972-5287 or in Atlanta at 770-717-5100.