Is a Living Trust Liable or Subject to Probate?

By Regan Rondinelli-Haberek

A living trust holds assets that are managed by a trustee for intended beneficiaries. Also called a revocable trust, it differs from other trusts in that the trust creator, or grantor, can also serve as the trustee and can make changes to, or even revoke, the trust in its entirety during his lifetime. Living trusts are attractive because the grantor retains ultimate control over his assets while he is alive, but they are most commonly used to avoid probate.

A living trust holds assets that are managed by a trustee for intended beneficiaries. Also called a revocable trust, it differs from other trusts in that the trust creator, or grantor, can also serve as the trustee and can make changes to, or even revoke, the trust in its entirety during his lifetime. Living trusts are attractive because the grantor retains ultimate control over his assets while he is alive, but they are most commonly used to avoid probate.

How Living Trusts Avoid Probate

When a grantor creates a living trust, he funds the trust by titling assets to the trust. For example, if the grantor chooses to put his home in the trust, he must change the deed so that the trust is the named owner of the property. The same is true of bank accounts and other financial accounts, as well as titles to vehicles. Because the trust owns the property rather than the grantor, upon his death, the trust assets pass according to the terms of the trust, and probate is unnecessary. Trust funding is imperative because assets not titled to the trust may have to go through probate.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Pour-Over Wills

Either intentionally or unintentionally, a grantor may leave assets out of the trust. A pour-over will is often used in conjunction with a living trust, so that any assets left out of the trust “pour over” from the probate estate into the trust. In this case, the will must be probated so that probate assets can be titled to the trust upon the grantor’s death.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
What Items Should Be Put Into a Living Trust?

References

Related articles

What Is a Reversible Living Trust?

In order to shelter assets from the probate courts and taxation, many people choose to create a trust. In a trust, a grantor transfers property to the care of a trustee and names a beneficiary who will inherit the property. There are many different kinds of trust, but two main forms affect how a grantor may handle the assets. These are revocable (or reversible) and irrevocable.

What if My House Is Not Paid for: Can I Put It in My Living Trust?

A living trust is an estate planning tool that acts as a holding area for property. A grantor -- the legal term for a person who creates a trust -- can add many types of assets to a trust, including a house with a mortgage, bank accounts and personal property. Property is placed in the trust for the benefit of the trust's beneficiaries, to whom the trust assets are distributed according to the terms of the trust. A trustee, who can also be the grantor, manages the trust and its property.

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

Florida Last Wills Vs. Trusts

Planning for your eventual demise can help you protect your assets and ensure their smooth transfer of your heirs. ...

Removing Real Estate From a Revocable Trust

Revocable trusts are often implemented to avoid probate. A trust's maker, or grantor, retains the power to fully revoke ...

Living Trust for Married Couples

A living trust is a popular estate-planning tool, and is frequently used to avoid probate. You can use a living trust ...

How Does a Living Trust Protect Assets?

Creating a trust to holds assets can help the grantor while he is alive and continue to serve him after his death. A ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED