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Revocable Living Trusts Attorney
in Knoxville, Tennessee

No matter how old you are or how many assets you have, establishing a solid estate plan is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your loved ones. However, there are so many different ways to go about this, and each should be tailored to the wishes of the individual. 

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can make this process much easier and ensure all your documents are legally binding and accurately reflect your needs. It’s also worth educating yourself about your options, one of which is setting up a revocable living trust.  

To learn more about this, reach out to me, Mark E. Tillery, Attorney at Law, to schedule a consultation. I’m able to help those in Knoxville, Tennessee, and throughout Knox County, Maryville, Farragut, and Clinton. 

What Is a Revocable Living Trust? 

To fully understand what a revocable living trust is, you also should know what an irrevocable living trust is. Each one allows you to transfer certain assets into the name of a trustee while you are still living, and then that trustee will be responsible for distributing the assets to your named beneficiaries: 

  • Revocable living trust: A revocable living trust can be “revoked” at any time (hence the name). This means that whatever assets are in the trust, whatever beneficiaries are named, and whomever your trustee is can be altered at any time while you’re still alive and of “sound mind.” For example, you can place new assets in the trust, assign certain assets to new beneficiaries, or even replace your trustee altogether. Although the assets will technically belong to another person, you will still exercise full control over them as if you still owned them.   

  • Irrevocable living trust: An irrevocable trust cannot be changed once it's set up. This means that once assets have been transferred into the name of your trustee and assigned to a beneficiary, you cannot take them out again or reassign them. Although this type of trust is obviously more restrictive, it can also offer a few key advantages to certain people. For instance, it can shelter assets from being counted toward Medicare or Medicaid benefits, reduce the amount of taxes you or your loved ones will incur, and protect assets from creditors.

Most people are familiar with a will but are less familiar with a trust. The two have many things in common, but also differ in key ways. Both a will and a trust let you assign assets to be given to a beneficiary after you pass away. However, when you only use a will, it will likely have to go through the legal process of probate. During probate, the contents of the will become part of the public record, meaning anyone can have access to them. 

Additionally, since the estate must move through the courts before assets can be distributed, this means that beneficiaries likely won’t receive anything for several months to a year. With a trust, your estate is kept private, and assets can be transferred to your heirs immediately after you pass away. 

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How Is a Living Trust Different Than a Living Will? 

A living trust is also sometimes confused with a living will, but in reality, the two are quite different. A living will (also called an advance directive) is an estate planning document where you can outline your health care wishes should you become incapacitated. This can include what kind of medical procedures you want, what kind of end-of-life care you want, and whether you want to be kept on life support. 

Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust 

Once people learn about the benefits of a revocable living trust, they may discover they want to include one as part of their estate plan. Some of the major advantages include:

  • The details of your estate are kept private. 

  • You remain in full control of your assets while you’re still living. 

  • Your beneficiaries can inherit the assets immediately. 

  • You can change the trust any time you like. 

  • You will avoid probate. 

  • Can reduce the chances of in-fighting and family members contesting your estate plan. 

Creating a Revocable Living Trust 

Setting up a living trust (as with all estate planning documents) should always be done alongside a skilled attorney. If you attempt to create this on your own, you risk making a mistake, not filling out the paperwork correctly, and not using the correct legal language that will make it enforceable.  

You’ll first need to identify the assets that you want to place in the trust and then the beneficiaries to which these assets will go. The next important decision you’ll have to make is who to appoint as your trustee. This should ideally be someone you know well and who can be counted on to follow your wishes. Of course, the beauty of a revocable trust is that these assignments can be changed as your needs change. You will then want to hire a reputable estate planning attorney who can help you set up the trust. 

Revocable Trusts Attorney Serving Knoxville, Tennessee

If you’re in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area and want to learn more about including a revocable living will in your estate plan, contact me, Mark E. Tillery, Attorney at Law, to get started.