A living trust, sometimes called a revocable trust or “inter vivos” trust, is a way of holding your property which has benefits both during your lifetime, and after your death. While you are alive, but physically or mentally unable to take care of your own affairs, the trust will be administered by your chosen successor trustee, solely for your own benefit. After your death, the trust will be administered for your chosen beneficiaries. If you die leaving minor children, the trust will continue until the children reach the age that you select. If your beneficiaries are adults or over the selected age, they will normally receive their distributions outright and the trust will terminate after your assets are fully distributed.

A trust is created by signing a declaration of trust, or sometimes a trust agreement with your trustee, which will specify how you want your assets distributed. Then, as a second step, the trust must be “funded” by transferring the titles of all your assets into your name as trustee of your trust. While the funding seems like more work than you may care for, it is essential if you and your heirs are to reap the benefits of the trust.