Individuals in New York who are planning for the distribution of their property after they die may have heard of a revocable trust but be unfamiliar with what is involved in such a document. Another name for a revocable trust is a living trust, and as its name implies, it is created and takes effect while the grantor is still alive. The terms of an irrevocable living trust cannot be changed while those of a revocable trust can.
A revocable living trust can have two functions. It can both protect a grantor who subsequently becomes incapacitated, and it can also provide a vehicle for the distribution of the assets in the trust after the grantor’s death.
Like all trusts, a revocable trust is administered by a trustee , but the trustee can be the individual who creates the trust. However, it is also possible and in most cases advisable to appoint a co-trustee. One advantage of having a revocable living trust with an appointed co-trustee is that if the grantor does become incapacitated, rather than having a guardian appointed, the other trustee can manage the affairs of the trust.
Trust and estate administration can be complicated, and a person who is appointed as a trustee may feel overwhelmed. However, an attorney can often be of assistance whether the individual is administering the trust for a grantor who is still alive but unable to manage his or her affairs or after the grantor’s death. Those who are seeking the preservation and protection of their assets for future generations may wish to consult with an estate planning and administration attorney for advice on the types of documents that can best achieve that goal.