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What You Should Know About Creating A Living Trust In Virginia

If you’re seeking a living trust in Virginia, there are some details that you’ll want to know regarding placing your assets into a trust while you continue using and controlling them. At the time of your death, these things will pass into your beneficiaries’ hands.  A living will offers you a unique way to manage your assets.

Living Trusts In Virginia

A “grantor” is a term given to the party who sets up the trust.  The assets in the trust will be managed for your benefit while you’re still alive. The goal here is to move your assets into a trust fund before you are incapable of caring for them.

Some of your assets aren’t moveable such as retirement accounts and life insurance. When you set up your living trust, you will have to name a trustee and put them in charge of caring for and managing the trust. You can choose anyone whom you desire. However, most people will name themselves and then maintain control of their own assets.

You’ll have to select a successor trustee so that they can step in upon the event of your death. This person will be able to continue managing and making decisions on your trust. You can change this person at any time during your life. However, you cannot alter an irrevocable living trust.

By choosing a living trust, Virginia law allows you to keep your own trust assets out of a probate court. Probate can cost several months in a courtroom and be very expensive. By choosing a trust, you can avoid this type of issue and move your money or assets directly to your beneficiaries upon your death without having to involve the courts at all.

A trust isn’t like a will. A will can’t distribute assets unless there is a probate court. Thus, a trust saves taxpayers time and money in the long run. You can avoid probate in any state if you own property and have a trust.

Virginia has a small estate procedure if you own under $50,000 worth of property in the state. The procedure is much quicker than a probate case and much less expensive than setting up a trust. However, it doesn’t offer the same benefits that trust will provide.

Living Trusts And Estate Taxes In Virginia

While the state of Virginia doesn’t place an estate tax on estates, it does have a federal estate tax that applies to any estate that is over 5 million dollars. A living trust won’t protect any assets from estate taxes.

There are marital trusts that will pass property to a living or surviving spouse and can avoid this tax until that person’s death. Revocable living trusts don’t protect any assets from Medicaid spend-downs or any creditors.

How You Can Create A Living Trust In Virginia

To create a living trust in the state of Virginia, you must have a written trust document signed in the presence of a notary. The trust won’t be official until you have transferred your assets into it. Living trusts may offer up a variety of benefits that will help you in the long run. You’ll want to consider all of your options.

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Misha is an estate planning attorney for his firm, Speedwell Law, PLLC. If you would like assistance in setting up your own estate plan, Misha can be reached at (703) 520-2142 or

This post, including any of its contents or links, is not intended to provide you with legal advice. It provides personal perspectives on legal news and developments. Reading this post, leaving a comment, or communicating with its author by email or over the Internet does not create any attorney-client relationship.