How do living trusts work?


A living trust is an estate planning strategy to avoid probate and keep certain asset distributions private. Many people in North Carolina find that setting up a trust is a great complement to their wills.

Types of trusts

The two most common types of trusts that you have probably heard of are revocable and irrevocable. You should be certain about your decision to pass on assets when you choose an irrevocable trust because you can’t modify or cancel it. The benefit of an irrevocable trust is a tax break. Revocable trusts may not have the same tax benefits, but they allow you to modify or cancel them.


Typically, you’ll name yourself as the living trust’s trustee and another person as the successor trustee. After your death, the successor trustee becomes the trustee. Married couples could serve as joint trustees but should still name a successor trustee. Although unlikely, it’s possible for a couple to die at the same time if they are in an accident.

Your last will and testament

Even if you set up a trust in North Carolina, you still need to write a will. There is most likely some property or another estate plan issue that you need to take care of in a will. For example, you will want to stipulate what to do with your digital assets, such as photos, files, and social media accounts.

If you have a child who’s a minor or disabled, then you need to designate a guardian for them in your will. Ask the person whom you have in mind if they are willing to take on the responsibility first before naming them as the guardian. The same goes for choosing your executor. Ask the person whom you are thinking of if they are able to fulfill the role.