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The living trust: what it means and how it works

Whether someone is planning for their later years in life, or they are just trying to strategically place their property and assets in the right place for estate purposes, a trust can help their cause. One common type of trust is the living trust. The living trust gets its name because the grantor is alive when he or she creates the trust. Other trusts can be created upon the grantor's death, but the living trust is done while the grantor is alive.

The grantor in the living trust equation will then pass his or her assets to a trustee. The trustee manages the assets and owes a fiduciary duty to the grantor. When the time is right, the trustee will pass the assets on to the beneficiary. The grantor can set the terms and conditions of the trust, but they have to be in accordance with state law.

One of the major benefits of creating a living trust is that it bypasses the probate process when your estate is executed. The probate process can apply many fees, penalties and taxes to the individuals involved. having a living trust in place can be very important.

It's also not that difficult to actually create a trust on your own. However, if there are legal issues that arise after the fact, then anyone who is dealing with the trust needs to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. Issues are common, so don't think that your estate is compromised because of a legal hurdle.

Source: FindLaw, "Living trust Information," Accessed Dec. 3, 2015

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