Revocable Living Trust Forms

One thing to consider when planning an estate is what will happen to your assets if you should die. Without a strategy, your holdings could end up in the wrong hands or in limbo for months or years. It is best to have a plan to distribute your assets to the beneficiaries you choose smoothly and seamlessly after your death. A Revocable Living Trust is one way to ensure your property is given to the recipients you choose. 

A Revocable Living Trust will protect your assets, tax benefits, and financial security for your loved ones. This estate planning tool yields many benefits and protections to ensure your and your loved one’s financial needs are met efficiently while alive and after you have passed. A Revocable Living Trust is created while the grantor is living and can be modified or revoked during the grantor’s lifetime. Create your revocable living trust with the help of TrustHandled.


What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A Revocable Living Trust is a signed legal document that defines how assets will be managed and distributed after a person dies. It is a living document that can be altered and amended. This type of trust may also be referred to as a Revocable Trust, a Revocable Grantor Trust, a Revocable Inter-Vivos Trust, a Living Revocable Trust, or a Joint Revocable Trust. This document permits a person to place assets into a trust until death. Upon their death, the assets are then transferred to designated beneficiaries. 

A Revocable Living Trust is a legal entity that retains property for beneficiaries to inherit. The grantor can modify these trusts at any time. Assets may include possessions, investments, bank accounts, and real estate. The person who creates the trust is the Trust-maker, Trustor, or Grantor. The person who manages the Trust is the Trustee. Beneficiaries are those who will receive assets after the death of the Trustor. The same person can be the Trustor, Trustee, and Beneficiary. Upon the death of the Trustor, an assigned Successor Trustee will take over and ensure the assets are overseen, as illustrated in the Living Trust. 

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What is the purpose of a Revocable Living Trust? 

The purpose of a Revocable Living Trust is to protect a person’s assets and prevent them from being given to the wrong beneficiaries after their death or held up in probate. If someone dies without a trust or will, their property will be given away according to their state’s intestate succession laws. Intestate succession laws define how assets are distributed after someone dies in a particular state. The laws give precedence to beneficiaries based on their relationship to the deceased. 

Still, they may not consider the wishes of the deceased person or his/her heirs and may exclude close friends, stepchildren, and non-blood-related family members. If you have a will, your assets will be distributed based on what your will outlines. This legal process is called probate and can be quite time-consuming. It can drag on for several months. Sometimes, beneficiaries may need to go through several probates if the property is owned in multiple states. A Revocable Living Trust provides beneficiaries with a quicker, more efficient asset distribution. 

The costs of probate may also take away from what beneficiaries may inherit. A Revocable Living Trust can also protect if a person becomes incapacitated and unable to manage their estate. The Revocable Living Trust empowers a Successor Trustee, someone chosen by the Trustor, to control the assets and ensure they are handled the way the Trustor outlined.

How to set up a Revocable Living Trust

Setting up a Revocable Living Trust is usually not a simple or inexpensive task, but Trustbox is here to prove it wrong. Our platform will do all the paperwork so you can focus just on certain things:

  • Taking an inventory of all your assets  
  • Decide who will be the trustee, successor trustee (if applicable) and beneficiaries
  • Having the legal document signed and notarized. Most states require Revocable Living Trusts to be notarized. If a trustee is appointed, they must sign the legal document. 
  • Transferring ownership to the Revocable Living Trust. This involves contacting banks and insurance companies to issue investment certificates, sign new deeds, and retitle items. 
  • Creating a Pour-over Will will add unallocated items to your trust after your death using Trustbox. A pour-over will is an additional legal document that transfers additional items to the trust after the grantor dies. 

Who owns the property in a Revocable Living Trust?

Ownership of assets remains with the grantor as long as that person is living. Even though ownership is transferred to the trust, it is still considered legal property of the grantor under a Revocable Living Trust. The grantor still has the right to change property ownership, cancel the trust, and manage the assets. A grantor may be taxed for income that the Revocable Living Trust generates during its lifetime.


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What kinds of assets can be assigned to a Revocable Living Trust?

Assets in a Revocable Living Trust tend to be highly valued items. Items like cars and computers that can be insured are not often bestowed in trusts. Examples of assets that can be put in a Revocable Living Trust include the following:  

  • Real estate
  • Investments
  • Stocks
  • Bonds 
  • Mutual funds
  • Company shares
  • Partnership interests
  • Bank accounts
  • Jewelry
  • Artwork

Some assets may not be placed in a Trust. Examples of assets that cannot be put in a Revocable Living Trust include: 

  • Life Insurance
  • Retirement Savings
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
  • Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)
  • Vehicles
  • Assets held in other countries

Frequently Asked Questions

There are several parties involved in a Revocable Living Trust. Those parties include: 

  • Grantor: The person who creates the Trust, assigns assets, and appoints beneficiaries in a Revocable Living Trust is called the Grantor, Trust-maker, Donor, Trustor, or Settlor. The grantor manages the trust until their death. Sometimes, two people can create a Joint Revocable Trust as co-grantors. Spouses who own and control a trust together are examples of co-grantors.
  • Trustee: The trustee manages the Revocable Living Trust. Most grantors name themselves trustees, so they have control over their assets while living. As with co-grantors, two people can be co-trustees. In this case, when one co-trustee dies, the other will maintain control.
  • Successor Trustee: If a trustee (not a co-trustee) dies or becomes incapacitated, an appointed successor trustee will manage the trust. A successor trustee can control the trust without court action if the primary trustee dies or cannot manage their estate. The grantor will name the successor trustee in the original Revocable Living Trust Form.
  • Beneficiary: Individuals, charities, or business entities can be beneficiaries and will inherit the assigned assets when a grantor dies. There may be multiple beneficiaries. Sometimes, the grantor, trustee, and primary beneficiary may all be the same person.

Property transfer to or from a Revocable Living Trust depends on what is being transferred. 

  • Real Estate 

For a real estate transfer, a deed must be used. A deed is a document that transfers real estate property ownership from one entity to another. A Warranty Deed or Quitclaim Deed are documents used. A warranty deed is common in real estate transactions. The document states that the grantor owns the property outright and has the right to transfer it to the grantee. It also states that the property is free and clear of liens, titles, or debts and cannot be claimed by any other person or entity. Title searches are performed to prove the grantor owns the property outright and have no liens. Title insurance is required for a warranty deed. A quitclaim deed is used when real estate is transferred, not sold. This often occurs between family members. There is no monetary transaction with a quitclaim deed. No title search is performed to verify ownership, and no title insurance is issued for a quitclaim deed. 

  • Valuable Property

When transferring jewelry or antique furniture, or other valuable property without a title or registration, a Bill of Sale or Gift Deed should be used. A Bill of Sale is a legal document that proves a transaction occurred and an item was sold from one entity to another. A Gift Deed is a legal document that transfers items or property from one entity to another without compensation. 

  • Bank Accounts

When transferring or assigning a bank account to a Revocable Living Trust, it is wise to speak with your bank. All banks have rules and regulations for transferring bank accounts to trusts. A Certificate of Trust is often part of the arrangement. A certificate of trust is a legal document certifying that a Trust exists and that the Trustee has the legal authority to act. It also gives the Trustee the power to provide important information about the Trust to third parties. 

Yes, a Revocable Living Trust is a disregarded entity. What is a disregarded entity? It is an entity separate from its owner and not recognized by the IRS as distinct. Therefore, the owner may report income, losses, credits, and deductions from the Revocable Living Trust on their tax returns. So, even if a Revocable Living Trust has taxable income or property in its name, the grantor is not responsible for filing a separate return for the Revocable Living Trust. It is reported on the grantor’s tax return. 

Yes, a Revocable Living Trust is designed with change in mind. The grantor may reassign the trust during their lifetime as they maintain control over the assets within the Living Trust. The grantor may also revoke the trust at any time during their lifetime. 

There are two ways to change a Revocable Living Trust – a Trust Amendment or a Trust Restatement.

A Trust Amendment allows the trustor to change the specifications of the Revocable Living Trust while keeping other provisions the same. This amendment is best suited for simple changes to the trust. A Trust Amendment must be notarized. 

A Trust Restatement allows a grantor to completely change the Revocable Living Trust without revoking it entirely. The original trust stays intact, but the specifications of the Trust Restatement override the original instructions. The restatement is used when a grantor wants to make substantial changes to the trust. A Trust Restatement must be notarized. 

Yes, a revocable trust becomes irrevocable when the grantor dies. 

There are many advantages to Revocable Living Trusts. These types of trusts allow assets to be dispersed in a way that would be too complicated and tricky to do with a will. Some advantages include the following: 

  • Flexibility

A Revocable Living Trust is made to be flexible. This type of trust can be amended and changed quite easily. Life can be complicated, and a Revocable Living Trust provides the flexibility to ensure your assets go to the right people, even if those people change throughout a lifetime. Marriage, divorce, and death may change circumstances, and a Revocable Living Trust provides the flexibility to change and grow with the grantor. 

  • Control

Maintaining control and management of assets is a huge advantage to a Revocable Living Trust, which adds to its flexibility. If you decide to cancel the trust, you can do so. If you want to do something else with your assets, you have the power to do that as well. If you designate a beneficiary but then decide that person should not receive your assets, you have control over whether or not they will inherit them. 

  • Privacy 

Revocable Living Trusts protect your privacy and the privacy of your beneficiaries. In contrast, probate proceedings are public records, and anyone can view them. If an estate is distributed according to a last will and testament, the general public can access the details of the inheritance. Estates in a Living Trust are dispersed in private. The public cannot see where your assets went, protecting your privacy and the privacy of your beneficiaries. The Revocable Living Trust ensures that your estate matters remain private. 

  • No Probate

The legal process of reviewing assets and determining beneficiaries is called probate. Probate is a court proceeding, and assets are assigned due to the stipulations in a will, or if there is no will, they are assigned due to intestate laws. It is a slow process, and the probate process’s costs may decrease the beneficiaries’ inheritance. Probate is not needed with a Revocable Living Trust. The successor trustee does not have to wait for the courts and can quickly disperse all assets to beneficiaries. 

  • Seamless Transfer of Ownership

Family members can avoid probate when a Revocable Living Trust is set up. This saves time and aggravation after the passing of a loved one. Loved ones and heirs can focus on grieving without dealing with the courts. The trust may require more time and money up front, but those costs and the extra time will save hassles and additional expenses caused by the probate. The grantor can care for their loved ones in this way, providing some ease and comfort after they have passed. 

  • Plans for incapacity, not just death

If a grantor is incapable of managing the trust, a Revocable Living Trust allows a successor trustee to oversee all matters relating to the trust. The grantor can assign this duty to a trusted friend or family member to be sure their assets are managed appropriately if they cannot do so. This successor trustee will have a fiduciary duty to act in the grantor’s best interests. The transition to the successor trustee will be automatic. It will not be necessary to go to court to have someone appointed as the successor. Revocable Living Trusts may also account for guardianship when minor children are involved. Stipulations regarding living situations and spending for minor children can be outlined in the terms of the Living Trust. 

  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Protection

Accounts transferred to Revocable Living Trusts qualify for FDIC insurance coverage. Just as the FDIC protects money in bank accounts up to $250,000, Trust deposits are insured for up to $250,000 per primary beneficiary.  

There are also disadvantages to Revocable Living Trusts. The biggest disadvantage is cost since the upfront costs of a Revocable Living Trust can add up, especially when assets are complex or intangible. Other disadvantages include:

  • Retitling 

Assets must be transferred to the Revocable Living Trust. This step can be timely and costly. 

  • Diligence must be practiced

The grantor must be diligent with amendments. If circumstances change, amendments must be made promptly to prevent complications for beneficiaries when the grantor passes away. If diligence is not practiced, the grantor’s final wishes may not be granted.

  • Not protected from creditors

Assets in a Revocable Living Trust are considered property and may be claimed by creditors instead of irrevocable trusts.

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When you need to create a revocable living trust, look no further than TrustHandled. The documents are created for you, leaving no room for errors that can impact your legal documents and construe your wishes.

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