Gifts by Revocable Living Trust

Revocable Living Trusts are popular estate planning documents that resemble Wills that contain instructions for managing personal assets during your lifetime and for the distribution of 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 a Partner to designate a trustee to manage assets in the event he or she becomes 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 by the designated trustee according to the Partner’s instructions.
  • If real estate is transferred to a Living Trust, estate administration can be avoided in several states. Without a trust, estate settlement proceedings must be conducted upon the Partner’s death in each state where he or she owns 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 of time to enable relatives and creditors to make claims. With a trust, assets are not frozen. Instead, depending upon circumstances, assets are immediately and privately distributed to the beneficiaries.

By naming yourself the trustee of your Revocable Living Trust, you’re granted broad powers to manage assets during your lifetime. Nothing changes about the way you run your household, your business, or any of your financial affairs. You determine what is 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 the trust. It may be necessary to have a Will in addition to a trust to properly distribute any property excluded from the trust.

You can include a current or deferred charitable gift to the Southern Poverty Law Center in a Living Trust – a gift that reduces estate taxes and supports the SPLC’s work for tolerance and justice.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please call us at 1-888-414-7752 or email us.

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.