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A living trust, sometimes referred to as an “inter vivos trust” (inter vivos is Latin for "between the living"), is a trust created during a person's lifetime and is intended to achieve certain lifetime and post-death goals as determined by the Grantor. The individual establishing the Trust is known as the “Grantor” or “Trustmaker” and the person who will manage the property in the Trust is known as the “Trustee.” A Trust can be useful in certain situations to help avoid Probate (and thereby eliminate judicial oversight and expense) (See Probate), help in situations of incompetency, avoid Guardianship (See Guardianship), allow "smooth" management of assets after the death of the Grantor, allow for planning for persons with “special needs,” allow management and control of the Grantor’s property after the death of the Grantor (possibly for generations), provide certain tax benefits as well as other uses and benefits. A Trust does not however, eliminate the need for Will, although a different type of Will, known as a “Pour-Over Will”, may be used.
As you may imagine based on the various uses and benefits of a Trust, there are many different forms of Trusts, and no two trusts are alike. Further, despite all of the benefits listed, not everyone needs or benefits from the creation of a Trust. There may be no need for the creation and administration of a Trust if it is not appropriate for your situation.
At Griffin & Griffin we examine a client’s unique situation and determine which type of Trust and which Trust provisions, if any, would be appropriate for meeting our client’s needs and desires. We will be upfront and honest with our clients if we believe that the cost of any planning technique will outweigh the benefit and we will never recommend a plan or process that is not necessary for our client.
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