Many Washington, DC residents decide to use a trust to keep their property from having to go through probate. Some of those people use living trusts, which are trusts that are created while the individual creating it is alive. That person can be both the beneficiary of the trust and the trustee of it as well.
Most of these trusts are revocable, which means that they can be changed, modified or terminated while the creator is still alive. Putting assets into the trust during one's lifetime means that they are not part of the individual's estate upon death. This is how probate of those assets is avoided, which ultimately saves family members time and money.
Once the assets are transferred into the trust, they will be handled according to the terms of the trust. Those provisions also serve as instructions to the trustee, who is duty bound to administer the trust and safeguard its assets. As time goes on, if the trust is revocable, adjustments can be made to it. It may make more sense for some assets to be removed from the trust while others are substituted.
No Washington, DC resident wants his or her estate to be squandered on taxes and fees associated with probate. Living trusts can help keep assets out of probate and possibly lower estate taxes. Drafting and funding the trust can be time-consuming and paper intensive, so having the assistance of someone who understands estate planning could ensure that your wishes are carried out and you and your loved ones have the opportunity to get the most out of your assets.
Source: FindLaw, "Living Trust Information", , Sept. 3, 2014