What is a revocable trust?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,197
    Estate Expert William Conway discusses revocable trust.

    Host: What is a revocable trust?

    William Conway: Well, a revocable trust is an agreement that one essentially enters into with oneself to control property while one is alive and that property is going to be controlled by a trustee. It is going to have a beneficiary and it will have a maker of the trust. So, the individual him or herself or sometimes the couple together are what we call the trust makers, the people that create the trust. They are sometimes called grantors or sometimes called settlers, they are sometimes called trustors. They are all the same, trust makers. They are the people that make the trust. Those people appoint the trustees, normally again, themselves. So, the husband, the wife, the single person appoints him or herself as the trustee of the trust that they have made and they name beneficiaries.

    During the period of their own life, they name themselves as the beneficiary. So, the trust maker, the trustee and the beneficiary, all are one and the same. Occasionally, we have a joint trust where, you have two trust makers, the husband and wife are the trust makers, they name themselves as the trustees and of course, they name themselves as beneficiaries. In that respect, it also leaves open as to who will be the person or persons in control of the trust after the incapacity or disability of one of the trustees. So, if the trustee becomes incapacitated, they name perhaps their own spouse as the secondary trustee or successor trustee. If it is a single person at person that person might name a friend, a son or a daughter to be the successor trustee, the person who controls the assets in the circumstance now the incapacity of the trust maker. But they are still the beneficiary and as such, the beneficiaries assets will be controlled by someone they know and trust. It will eliminate the problem of going to court to eliminate the problem of not having a plan. It will eliminate the problem of a power of attorney not being accepted. So, a trust in that respect is like a basket. I put into the trust or the assets I have. While I am alive, I will name the trust as the owner of those assets and it becomes after a fact my own alter ego.