Revocable Living Trusts, popular estate planning documents that resemble Wills, contain instructions for managing your personal assets during your life and distributing those assets after your death.
Setting up a Living Trust is more difficult than a Will, but there are some advantages. Perhaps most significantly, a Living Trust allows you to designate a trustee to manage your assets in the event you become disabled or incapacitated.
Other differences between a Living Trust and a Will are:
A Will must be probated to be verified and enforced, resulting in attorney/executor fees and delays. A Living Trust does not go through probate, allowing assets to be distributed according to the owner's instructions by the designated trustee.
If real estate is transferred to a Living Trust, estate administration can be avoided in multiple states. Without a trust, estate settlement proceedings have to be conducted upon your death in all states where you own real property.
A Living Trust is more difficult to contest than a Will. When an estate is "in probate," assets are usually frozen for a period to enable relatives and creditors to make their claims. With a Trust, assets are not frozen. Instead, depending upon circumstances, they are immediately and privately distributed to the beneficiaries.
As the trustee of your own Revocable Living Trust, you grant yourself broad powers to manage your assets during your lifetime. Nothing changes about the way you run your household, your business, or any of your financial affairs. You determine what's in the trust, and you can easily amend it.
In order to take full advantage of the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust, you must change the titles on all real estate, securities, and other assets from your name to the name of your trust. It may be necessary to have a Will in addition to a trust to properly distribute any property you wish to exclude.
You can include a current or deferred charitable gift to the Southern Poverty Law Center in your Living Trust – a gift that reduces estate taxes and supports the Center's work for tolerance and justice.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please call the planned giving department toll free at 1-888-414-7752 or contact us online.
We recommend that you consult with your attorney or tax advisor for the various tax benefits and restrictions that may apply to your specific situation. We are available to you and your advisors to answer questions or help arrange a planned gift to the Center. The Center's future programs depends on the partnerships we form today.