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The advantages of a revocable trust

Many estate planning attorneys recommend that in addition to having a will, their clients set up a revocable trust. Revocable trusts allow your assets to be more distributed expediently according to your wishes after you die. A revocable trust also makes it easier for your executor to pay any bills or outstanding debts.

Many people choose to have a revocable trust so that their family and executor don't have to go through probate. Aside from saving time and money, avoiding probate can keep the terms of the estate confidential.

A revocable trust can also be useful while a person is still alive. For example, if people become physically incapacitated to the point where they can't handle their own affairs, such as paying their bills or providing support to other family members, or they become mentally incapacitated due to dementia or a similar condition, the co-trustee or successor trustee can deal with these matters.

With a revocable trust, the grantor (the person who sets up the trust) is generally the trustee. He or she can choose co-trustees, perhaps to help make investment choices for some of the assets in the trust. If you want to have complete control over the assets in your revocable trust while you're able to, you can simply choose a successor trustee who will take over when you die or if you become incapacitated.

You can set up a revocable trust at any time. Because it's revocable, you can make changes as necessary. To place assets in a trust, you simply need to retitle them so that they're in the name of the trust rather than your individual name. This usually includes accounts, homes and other assets of value that are listed in your name that you want to leave to others after you die. You would title any new assets you acquire (such as a new account that you open) in the name of your trust.

Your Maryland estate planning attorney can explain how a revocable trust would work for your individual situation. He or she can also guide you through the process of placing your assets in your trust and making changes over the years as the need arises.

Source: The New York Times, "Life After Your Death? Here's Why You Should Have a Trust," Elizabeth Olson, March 22, 2018

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