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Living Trusts in Berks County

The most commonly used alternative to a simple Will-based estate plan is a Revocable Living Trust plan. A Revocable Living Trust is a trust established by an individual (the "grantor") during his or her lifetime in which the grantor reserves the right to alter, amend, or revoke the trust.

In any trust, there are three parties to the trust. There is the person or persons who create the trust who are often referred to as the grantor, settlor, maker, or creator. There is the individual or corporation who is in charge of the assets held in the trust, namely the trustee. Finally, there is the person or persons who are to receive the benefit from the assets being held in the trust, namely the beneficiary. While in some cases, there may be three distinct parties serving as grantor, trustee, and beneficiary, in the majority of living trust estate plans, the same person serves as grantor, trustee, and beneficiary.

The usual Revocable Living Trust provides that the grantor retains the right to amend or revoke the trust at any time. In addition, the trust usually provides that all of the income and principal of the trust can only be used for the grantor's benefit. If the Grantor is not able to serve as trustee, there would be a successor disability trustee who would take over management of the trust. This means that there would be no need for any kind of legal guardianship proceeding.

In the case of a married couple, a Joint Living Trust would have both spouses named as the grantor, trustee, and beneficiary. Upon the death of the first spouse, the surviving spouse would continue to act as sole trustee.

Upon the death of the grantor, or in the case of a married couple both grantors, the trust would have the same sort of dispositive provisions written into it that would normally be found in a will. The trust would also provide that there would be a successor trustee who would administer and distribute the assets in the trust according to the terms of the trust without having to go through any legal probate administration process. This is the biggest advantage of a Revocable Living Trust in that the client avoids the delay and inconvenience of a probate administration, the cost involved in probate, and the publicity of a formal probate administration.

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