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Trustees and Beneficiaries

Revocable trusts are effective in avoiding probate only when the trust document has been properly drafted and only when all of the decedent’s property has been transferred into the trust prior to his death. The trust document, like a will, provides for the disposition of trust assets upon the death of the settlor. In the typical arrangement, a husband and wife will create a revocable trust with both husband and wife as the initial trustees. They are also the beneficiaries of the trust. The trust provides that during their joint lifetimes the trust may be revoked at any time. Upon the death of either spouse, the trust typically becomes irrevocable and the surviving spouse becomes the sole trustee. When the surviving spouse dies, the trust property passes according to the wishes expressed in the trust document.

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