What does my revocable living trust say? If you’re like most people, you were surprised by the stack of documents at your estate planning signing meeting. Even though your trust is written in plain English (to the extent possible) and your estate planning attorney walked you through each article, you are still bound to have many questions. Herein, is a brief synopsis of typical trust provisions.
Every revocable living trust will have provisions creating and naming the trust itself. There is a long trust name, referring to trustees (and successor trustees,) and a short convenient name such as “The Robert M. Smith Living Trust, dated February 23, 2011.”
There may be an acknowledgement of your spouse, if you’re married, and your children. If you don’t have a spouse or children, your estate planning attorney will include the names of loved ones or friends of your choice.
There is a nomination of trustees, successor trustees, and instruction as to when each trustee serves and instruction for service. In addition, there is a list of trustee powers and general definitions.
The most important lifetime benefit of a revocable living trust is disability planning. Your trust will provide a definition of your disability (meaning what standards must be met for you to be deemed disabled.)
There will be a description of how your disability is to be determined as well as the appointment of disability trustees (and successor disability trustees.) And because your disability trustees need to know what to do, there will be a list of instructions for your asset management and personal care.
Your trust will describe how, when, under what conditions, and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death. Because of asset protection benefits, trust distributions are often to sub-trusts for your beneficiaries (as opposed to outright gifts.) And, federal estate tax planning may be included.
If you have questions about the contents of your trust, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.