A trust is a written arrangement by which one person (trustee) holds property for the benefit of another person or persons (beneficiary).

A trust can be either revocable or irrevocable.  A revocable trust is one that is created during the grantor’s lifetime and can be revoked or amended during the life of the grantor.

An irrevocable trust is a trust where the grantor gives up all rights to amend or revoke the trust after it is created.

Trusts can also be created in a will, these are called testamentary trusts.

In order to realize the benefit of the trust, the trust has to be “funded”.  This means that items currently owned by you (car, bank accounts, real estate, etc.) must be titled in the name of the trust.

A revocable trust by its nature is very flexible.  This is because it can be modified.  Items can be added or removed from the trust.  Likewise, beneficiaries can be added or removed and percentages left to beneficiaries can be changed.

The probate process can be avoided using a revocable trust.  If your goal is to avoid probate and you have properly titled all of your assets in the name of the trust, there should be no need to go through probate.  Upon your death, your assets are distributed pursuant to the terms of the trust.