How to Form a Revocable Trust

By A.K. Jayne

A revocable trust is an agreement that dictates how your assets will be distributed, both during your lifetime and after your death. The trust is called “revocable” because you retain the right to revoke the trust, or amend it, during your lifetime. A revocable trust may appeal to you if you want to avoid the expense and public nature of probate proceedings. However, revocable trusts can be costly to establish and administer, mainly because you — or your trustee — must be sure that assets are properly transferred to the trust.

Step 1

Choose the settlors for your trust. The settlor is the creator and funder of the trust. You can have more than one settlor for a revocable trust. For example, a husband and wife can serve as joint settlors in a family trust.

Step 2

Name a successor trustee. Typically, the settlor of a trust will carry out trustee duties during her lifetime. After her death, her successor trustee will be responsible for managing the proceeds of the revocable trust. If a husband and wife form a family trust, they should select a successor trustee who will serve as settlor after both spouses die.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 3

Choose your beneficiaries. Beneficiaries can be people or entities such as charities. They will receive proceeds from the revocable trust, either during your lifetime or after your death. You can name your spouse, children, or other family members as beneficiaries.

Step 4

If you can, hire an attorney to draft the trust agreement. Having a licensed attorney prepare your revocable trust agreement is the only way to ensure its legality, notes the Missouri Bar Association’s website. You should enlist the services of an attorney who specializes in estate planning law.

Step 5

Fund the trust. Any assets that have not been transferred into the trust are subject to probate upon your death — and one of the main benefits of establishing a revocable trust is avoiding probate. This can be done by naming the trust as owner of bank accounts. Stock certificates should be reissued in the name of the trust. For real estate holdings, the title must be updated. The revocable trust can also hold any shares you own in entities such as partnerships or limited liability companies.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Can I Put Jointly Held Property in a Living Trust?


Related articles

How to Set Up a Blind Trust

People, including judges, politicians and business executives, use blind trusts to avoid conflicts of interest because in a blind trust the beneficiary does not know how the trustee handles the assets of the trust. Lottery winners sometimes use blind trust to preserve anonymity. In other aspects, blind trusts are the same as other types of trusts.

How to Name a Living Trust

A living trust is a plan in the form of an agreement that manages all the property you place into the trust while you're still living. A common estate-planning tool, a living trust is created by the preparation and execution of a trust agreement, a document that identifies the trust's owner, the trustee -- the person who oversees the trust -- and lists the trust's provisions. A living trust needs a name because the trust is the owner of all the assets placed into it. The name allows the trust's owner to identify the trust as the owner on property transfer papers, other legal documents and financial accounts.

Living Trusts & Bank Accounts

You can place your bank accounts and other assets in a living trust so they bypass probate when you die. Avoiding probate generally saves time and money for the beneficiaries of your estate. You must physically change the titles of your assets from your individual name to the name of your trust for them to skip the probate process upon your death.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

How to Set Up a Joint Revocable Trust

A joint revocable trust is a type of living trust where you with your spouse, or you with another party, assign ...

Does a Living Trust Need to Be Registered in North Carolina?

Living trusts, also called revocable trusts, are popular estate planning tools because they avoid the costs and delays ...

How to Create a Legal Trust

A trust is a legal instrument that is useful for tax and estate planning. Under a trust arrangement, a trustee manages ...

The Pros & Cons of Making a Will

A will is a written legal document that describes how you would like to distribute your property after you die. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED