Revocable inter vivos or “living” trusts are often used, in conjunction with a pour-over will, as part of an estate plan which seeks to avoid probate. (See “Probate” tab.)
While living, the person who establishes a revocable trust (referred to as “settlor” or “trustor”) generally serves as trustee of the trust and manages the trust’s assets for his or her benefit during his or her lifetime.
When the settlor or trustor dies (now known as “decedent”), the successor trustee of the trust will “administer” the trust in accordance with the decedent’s wishes, as indicated in the trust documents. This generally means the successor trustee (i.e., the person the decedent named in the trust documents to execute his or her wishes upon his or her death) works to, among other things, transfer trust property to the beneficiaries of the trust. An attorney can assist such trustees with this process.
Revocable inter vivos trusts are often established by married couples, who generally each serve as trustees of the trust during their lifetimes. At the death of the surviving spouse, the trust administration process described above ensues.
Mr. Dickinson assists and advises trustees with trust administration.