Primary Purpose of a Living Trust – Assets titled in the name of the trust avoid probate and provide privacy from the public in regards to your assets. In addition, a named trustee may serve to avoid having a guardian or conservator appointed for you by the state as you age or become incapacitated.
This avoidance of what is called a conservatorship is a significant planning opportunity. You name someone you trust to act as the trustee with you and for you in the event of your incapacity, so the court does not appoint a conservator. The trust or power of attorney documents should provide for this rather than relying on the courts.
The trust is revocable and can be amended or canceled during your life, along with all the assets that belong to you and are taxable. You are the trustee and sign so you can control the assets. It would be best if you had a trusted advisor, family member, or friend who can act as the successor or trustee or co-trustee when you cannot act upon your death.
A living trust has formal execution requirements. Laws vary from state to state on the fiduciary duties and accountability of trustees and protectors.
Protectors are usually someone you trust and are named in a trust to see that your wishes are followed, generally. State laws differ on the role of protectors. It is essential to review these decisions with your attorney to make sure the trust provides for a method to review and remove or replacement of a trustee or protector.
Consult with your attorney when you do your living trust to make sure the documents are prepared and executed correctly. If the living trust makes reference and incorporates this particular above checklist, this can become a part of your legal documents and not just a personal note.