One of the misconceptions is the idea that you cannot handle assets that you convey into any type of trust. This is not the case when it comes to a revocable living trust. When you create and fund this type of trust, you can act as the trustee while you are alive. If you create a joint living trust with your spouse, you and your spouse would typically act as co-trustees.
The trustee controls the action of the trust, so you could add or remove assets after you initially establish the trust. You are creating the trust as an estate planning vehicle, so you would probably never want to revoke the trust, but you could do so if you ever wanted to go that route.
As you can see, there is no loss of control when you create a living trust.
Ultimately, you want the assets in the trust to get into the hands of beneficiaries after you pass away. To make this happen, you name a successor trustee to administer the trust after you are gone.
If you have created a joint living trust with your spouse as the co-trustee, your spouse would act as the trustee after you are gone. Your spouse could be the sole trustee under these circumstances, but it would also be possible to name someone to succeed you as the co-trustee after you are gone if this is your choice.
A successor trustee would be named in the trust declaration if you create a living trust on your own. This person or entity would administer the trust after you pass, but the successor trustee could also be empowered to administer the trust in the event of your incapacitation.
You could name someone that you know and trust who is a good money manager to act as the successor trustee. However, there can be concerns here, because conflicts of interest can enter the picture, and you have to consider the anticipated longevity of the trustee.
To account for these concerns, you could go in a different direction and use a professional fiduciary like the trust section of a bank or a trust company to handle the trust administration tasks after you pass away.
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We can help if you would like to obtain more detailed information about living trusts and trust administration. Our firm offers free consultations, and you can send us a message through our contact page to set up an appointment: San Jose CA Estate Planning Attorneys.
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