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Using revocable trusts in an estate plan

There are many elements of a well-developed estate plan, such as a will, medical directives and powers of attorney. However, Georgia residents should also strongly consider including a revocable trust.

A revocable trust is one that exists indefinitely after the death of the grantor, ensuring that the grantor's wishes regarding the handling of the assets in the trust are managed as stipulated. When this type of trust is used, it should address who should be the successor trustees after the death of the grantor if the grantor also served as the trustee. After the death of the grantor, the trust becomes irrevocable. The terms contained in the trust regarding the distribution of assets remain effective for any future beneficiaries.

Individuals can use a revocable trust to provide a measure of protection and privacy regarding the handling of the assets of their estate. The probate process is a public one. When the assets are placed in a revocable trust, the transfer of the assets remains a private matter. Another reason to include a revocable trust in an estate plan is to avoid the ancillary administration that will take place in each state in which an individual has property. If the titles to the assets are held by the trust, these processes can be avoided.

Revocable trusts can also receive properties from other sources, such as IRAs, pensions, other trusts, wills and life insurance policies. This results in the assets being handled in accordance with the grantor's wishes for any future generations. An estate planning attorney may provide advice regarding which types of trusts may be most appropriate for a client's assets and goals. The attorney may assist with drafting their provisions to ensure the proper distribution of assets.

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