What is a revocable trust?
A revocable trust (sometimes called a living trust or an inter-vivos trust) is thought of as an alternative to a will, and its primary appeal is that it offers a way to avoid the probate process upon one's death. Whereas a will must be probated through the county probate court to be given effect, a revocable trust does not. A revocable trust is a separate document established by a person (the "grantor") that typically names the grantor as the manager of the revocable trust (the "trustee"). To succeed in avoiding the probate process, the grantor must transfer into the revocable trust, during the grantor's life, assets that would otherwise require probate. The terms of the revocable trust usually provide exclusively for the grantor during the grantor's lifetime. Thereafter, the document serves in much the same way as a will, directing how the assets in the revocable trust, such as real estate, valuable possessions, bank accounts, and investments, will be handled after the grantor's death. A revocable trust can be changed or revoked at any time but becomes irrevocable upon the grantor's death.