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What is a revocable trust agreement?

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Quick Answer

A revocable trust is often used to avoid the expensive and time consuming probate process and to leave property to heirs, notes Nolo. The reason the trust is a revocable one is because it can be altered during the trust maker's lifetime if necessary.

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Full Answer

Once drawn up, revocable trusts must contain the signature of the trust maker and a notary public, says Nolo. The beneficiaries, name of the property and a trustee must also be listed on the trust. The trust maker acts as the trustee and legal owner of the property while alive and the successor trustee takes over after the original trust maker's death.

To include a property in a revocable trust, it's usually a matter of transferring the property into the trust, notes Nolo. For real estate or any other titled property, it first has to be re-titled before it can be included in a trust. The titled property may be subject to probate if this step isn't completed correctly.

Some of the major differences between a revocable trust and a standard will is that a trust remains private after the trust maker's death, allows the maker to avoid a conservatorship and can help avoid a court dispute, says Nolo. While a lawyer isn't necessary to create a revocable living trust, hiring one ensures the maker completes all of the necessary legal steps.

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