Berman & Asbel, LLP

Using a revocable trust for estate planning

Pennsylvania residents who are planning their estates may want to think about creating revocable trusts. A revocable trust is an estate planning document with the power to do a lot more than a will. While the grantors of revocable trusts are alive, they can make as many changes to the trust document as they wish. The provisions in the trust become irrevocable once the grantor dies.

Passing assets to beneficiaries can be done more quickly and discreetly with a revocable trust. Unlike a will, a trust document does not need to pass through probate court before beneficiaries may receive their inheritance. By avoiding probate, the details of a revocable trust remain private, and a greater portion of assets can be preserved for beneficiaries.

A revocable trust allows a grantor to have more control over how and when the trust's assets will be distributed. For example, language in the trust may instruct the trustee to distribute assets to beneficiaries in installments or only for specific purposes. The assets in the trust can also be protected from creditors so that trust beneficiaries will not lose the income source if they are facing a lien or collections action.

There are many different types of trusts that can benefit families in different ways. An estate planning attorney might assist clients in determining the type of vehicle that will match their specific estate planning goals. Some trusts instruct trustees to distribute assets all at once, and other trusts are set up to disburse interest to beneficiaries while the principal continues to grow.

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