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Secrets of Establishing a Revocable Living Trust and Avoiding Probate

Many individuals devising an estate plan are motivated to avoid probate in Virginia for good reason. The probate process can be long and tedious, holding up funds needlessly from your beneficiaries. A revocable living trust can help avoid this process by transferring your assets to a trust to be privately administered outside the supervision of the court.

Elements of a Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is established by creating a trust agreement in which the grantor transfers the assets named in the trust to be managed by an appointed trustee for the benefit of his or her beneficiaries. The assets are legally owned by the trust and not by the individual. Therefore, when the grantor passes away, he or she does not own the assets and they are not part of the probate estate. This process helps grantors avoid probate in Virginia.

Funding a Revocable Living Trust

At Golightly, Mulligan & Morgan, our trusts and estates attorneys often see clients come in with formal trust documents that are well organized and thorough. However, Mr. Golightly has encountered many such trusts that contain a blank schedule of assets. The schedule of assets should include all property owned by the trust. While another trusts and estates attorney may have established the trust to hold property, without assets being added to the schedule, the trust fails to serve its purpose.

To successfully avoid probate, the trust must own the assets. If you own assets individually at the time of your passing, these assets will most likely go through the probate process, defeating the purpose of the trust in the first place.

You can work with our estate planning attorneys to properly fund your trust by having proper deeds drawn up, transferring ownership and changing the beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, annuities or life insurance.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are considering establishing a living revocable trust, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer for trusts and estates. Our lawyers at Golightly Mulligan & Morgan for trusts and estates take pride in our ability to provide comprehensive family estate planning strategies that protect our clients’ interests and their loved ones. Our trusts and estates lawyers can talk to you about your final wishes and come up with an approachable plan that is tailored for your needs.

Call us today at 804.658.3873.

Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future cases. Also, nothing in this website creates an attorney/client relationship, and you should not leave anything of a confidential nature on this website.

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Golightly Mulligan and Morgan, PLC
(804) 658-3873

Richmond Office:
2016 John Rolfe Parkway
Richmond, VA 23238

Virginia Beach Office: 
1244 Perimeter Parkway, Suite 441
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454


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