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Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust (sometimes called an inter vivos trust) is a popular estate planning tool that you can use to determine who will get your property when you die. Most living trusts are “revocable” because you can change them as your circumstances or wishes change. Revocable living trusts are “living” because you make them during your lifetime. Most people use living trusts to avoid probate. Probate is the court-supervised process of wrapping up a person’s estate. Probate can be expensive, time consuming, and is often more of a burden than a help. Property left through a living trust can pass to beneficiaries without probate.

Irrevocable Living Trust

An irrevocable living trust is a trust that can't be modified or terminated without the permission of the beneficiary. The grantor, having transferred assets into the trust, effectively removes all of his or her rights of ownership to the assets and the trust.

The main reason for setting up an irrevocable trust is for estate tax reductions, asset protection and charitable estate planning. The benefit of this type of trust for estate assets is that it removes all incidents of ownership, effectively removing the trust's assets from the grantor's taxable estate. The grantor is also relieved of the tax liability on the income generated by the assets.

Testamentary Trust

A testamentary trust is a legal and fiduciary relationship created through explicit instructions in a descendant’s will. A testamentary trust goes into effect upon an individual's death and is commonly used when someone wants to leave assets to a beneficiary, but doesn't want the beneficiary to receive those assets until a specified time.

Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust provides financial support for a person with special needs, without affecting his or her qualifications for government benefits. Property is put into a trust for the benefit of a person with special needs, often by a parent or other relative. The terms of the trust allow the trustee to use trust funds to buy certain things for the beneficiary, but because the beneficiary never owns trust property it is not considered to be an asset when he or she applies for government benefits.

Charitable Trust

The arrangement by which real or personal property given by one person is held by another to be used for the benefit of a class of persons or the general public. A charitable purpose is one designed to benefit, improve, or uplift mankind mentally, morally, or physically. The relief of poverty, the improvement of health, government and education are some examples of charitable purposes.