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Living Trusts—Revocable and Irrevocable

The distinguishing characteristic of a living trust is that you create it, and it becomes effective during your lifetime and is often set up to benefit you during your life and to make disposition of property easier after you die—that is, to avoid probate.

Also, by naming yourself trustee of a living trust and naming yourself beneficiary during your life, you can retain complete control over the property in the trust during your lifetime—that is, you can amend or revoke the trust at any time. This kind of trust is called a revocable living trust. That means if you create a living trust and name yourself as trustee and deposit into the trust as principal:

  • Stocks, bonds and other investments—you manage the portfolio; you can sell the stocks and bonds or buy new ones;
  • A bank account—you can deposit money into and withdraw money from the account;
  • A car—you can drive the car, sell the car, or even scrap the car;
  • Jewelry—you can wear the jewelry, sell the jewelry or give it away.

Note that if you name someone other than yourself as trustee, that person becomes the manager of the trust, and you lose the ability to do what you please with the assets. That is, the trust becomes an irrevocable living trust, unless you have reserved the right to amend the trust, even if you are the beneficiary during your lifetime.

Who can benefit from my living trust other than me?

Can I amend or revoke my living trust?

Are there circumstances in which I cannot amend or revoke my living trust?

I want to create a revocable or irrevocable living trust:

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