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trustA Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is a sophisticated estate planning document that determines how your property is to be managed and distributed during your lifetime and also upon your death. By creating a RLT, you create a separate legal entity that holds your property on your behalf. During your lifetime, and while you are competent, you are usually the trustee of your RLT, and retain complete control over the property and assets. You are free to spend or invest the property as you deem fit. The trust is drafted according to your exact wishes. You decide how and when your property is to be distributed, and also decide who to appoint as the successor trustees should you become unable to handle the role on your own.

After your trust is drafted, the trust will be funded with your property. This means that most of your property will be transferred into that trust, and the trust will become the owner of that property. Remember, during your lifetime, and while you are competent, you will not lose control of that money. In addition, even after this trust is established, it can be changed or terminated by you at any time.


Advantages of a Revocable Living Trust

A Revocable Living Trust (RLT), if properly drafted and funded, can completely avoid the probate court process. Property owned by your RLT at the time of your death will not go through probate court.

A RLT can avoid the necessity of ancillary probate proceedings in another state. If you own property in another state, that property may be subject to an additional, costly and inconvenient probate process in that other state. If the property is owned by your RLT at the time of your death, there is no need for such a process.

A RLT will allow property to pass to your heirs immediately upon your death rather than having to wait the 6-month minimum required by probate court.

The cost of administering a RLT after your death is substantially less than administering a will in probate court. Following are the statutory combined attorney and personal representative fees of a probate estate (a RLT will completely eliminate these fees):

Value of Estate Probate Fees
$50,000 $3,600
$100,000 $6,600
$200,000 $12,100
$300,000 $17,600
$400,000 $23,100
$500,000 $28,100
$600,000 $33,100
$700,000 $38,100
$800,000 $43,100
$900,000 $48,100
$1,000,000 $53,100
$2,000,000 $93,100
$3,000,000 $133,000
$4,000,000 $173,000
$5,000,000 $213,100

Depending on the size of your estate, a revocable living trust can also reduce or eliminate estate taxes.

A RLT can provide for continuity and back-up financial management during your lifetime, particularly in the event of your disability of incapacity. A RLT will designate a person you chose as the successor trustee to take over the administration of your trust upon your death or incapacity. The successor trustee then assumes all of the administration powers that you held, including the ability to manage money and write checks.

A RLT will usually avoid the necessity of guardianship or conservatorship proceedings if you become incapacitated or disabled and are unable to manage your own financial affairs. As discussed in the previous paragraph, the successor trustee will assume control of your assets at that point in time and will manage them for your benefit as long as your incapacity lasts.

A RLT is a private document not open to the public. If you only have a will, after your death, your will is required to be filed with probate court along with a list of your assets. Those documents are open to the public for inspection, including by curious neighbors and telemarketers. A RLT is not filed with the court and is not a public document.

The best way to obtain additional information, and to decide what estate plan is proper for you, is to contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Cox, L.L.C. to discuss your particular situation.

We accept credit cards for your convenience. Contact our St Louis law firm today to schedule an appointment to learn how our legal expertise can help you acheive your goals. Attorney Chris Cox is conveniently located in Chesterfield, Missouri. Call us at 314.727.0163 or contact us online.

Office Location

Law Office of Christopher P. Cox, L.L.C.
13321 N. Outer 40 Rd.
Suite 600
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Tel: 314-727-0163
Fax: 314-448-4300


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The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. The information and materials on this Web site are provided for general informational purposes only, and are not intended to be, and is not, legal advice. This Web site attempts to provide quality information, but the law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance.