Washington, DC Revocable Living Trusts

Do you want to create DC revocable living trusts? Kevin C. Martin, Attorney at Law, PLLC can be of service to you. Call us for more information.


Revocable Living Trusts in Washington, D.C.

A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that helps manage your assets and provide for your loved ones. It also allows you to avoid probate. A revocable trust is effective in asset management and distribution. They give you peace of mind as you enjoy your assets during your lifetime and leave them behind for your loved ones after you’re gone. 

But setting up revocable trusts can be daunting. Any loopholes could hurt you. The trust’s wording and language may be challenging to draft and understand, especially if you don’t have a legal background. Consider hiring an estate planning attorney in Washington to help you set up, maintain, and manage your trust.

Key Terms to Understand a Revocable Living Trust

  • Grantor or Settlor: The person who establishes and funds the revocable living trust.
  • Trustee: The person or entity managing the assets held in the trust. A grantor can also be a trustee.
  • Beneficiaries: The individuals or entities designated to receive the assets held in the trust, usually after the grantor’s demise.
  • Revocable: Refers to the trust’s flexibility. It allows the grantor or settlor to change or revoke it during their lifetime.
  • Living Trust: Also known as an inter vivos trust. It is the trust instrument created that takes effect during the grantor’s lifetime.
  • Probate: The legal process where the court validates a will and oversees asset distribution.
  • Successor Trustee: An individual or entity named to succeed and manage the trust after the death or incapacitation of the original trustee.


What Is a Revocable Living Trust?


revocable living trust is a legal instrument the grantor uses to transfer their assets into a trust during their lifetime. The grantor retains control over the trust property and can modify or revoke it. It outlines how assets should be managed and distributed. It also enables them to manage and transfer their trust assets to beneficiaries.

Revocable Living Trust Legal Provisions as per Washington D.C. Law

The Uniform Trust Code governs the creation of a revocable living trust. Under §19-1304.02, a trust can be created only if:

  • The grantor has shown the intention to create the trust.
  • The trust has defined beneficiaries or is a charitable trust/ trust for the care of an animal/ trust for a non-charitable purpose.
  • The trustee has duties to execute.
  • The same person is not the sole trustee and the sole beneficiary.

Assets Eligible to Be Included in a Revocable Living Trust


Certain assets are eligible for inclusion in a revocable living trust. Others are ineligible. Eligible assets may include:

  • Real estate properties
  • Bank accounts and investments
  • Personal belongings and valuable assets

Assets that are typically ineligible for inclusion in a living trust are:

  • Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • 401(k) plans
  • Qualified annuities

Consider consulting a knowledgeable attorney to ensure the proper titling and transfer of assets into the trust.

Revocable Living Trust v. Irrevocable Living Trust

Revocable living trusts offer flexibility and the ability to modify or revoke them. Conversely, irrevocable trusts cannot be modified or revoked once established. Irrevocable trusts often provide additional benefits, such as asset protection and tax advantages. Such trusts require careful consideration and legal guidance due to their permanent nature.

Revocable Living Trusts v. Wills


A will only take effect upon the grantor’s death and requires probate. On the other hand, a revocable living trust is active during the grantor’s lifetime. A revocable living trust also provides privacy and is not subject to the public eye during the probate court process.

How to Create a Revocable Living Trust

  1. Consult a Lawyer. Consider seeking professional advice from an experienced D.C. trusts lawyer such as Kevin C. Martin, Attorney at Law, PLLC. We can guide you through trust creation and help you comply with Washington, D.C., laws.
  2. Define the Terms of the Trust. We can help establish the terms of the trust and assist in naming a successor trustee and beneficiaries.
  3. Prepare the Trust Document. We can draft the trust document respecting your wishes and per Washington, D.C. legal provisions.
  4. Sign and Notarize the Document. The trust document is then executed in a notary public’s presence to confirm authenticity.
  5. Transfer Assets to the Trust. You must transfer ownership of eligible assets to the trust by re-titling them.
  6. Maintain and Update the Trust. Review and update the trust as needed, such as after significant life events or changes in your circumstances.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Revocable Living Trust

Revocable living trusts offer several advantages, including:

  • Assets held in the trust may be able to bypass the probate process. This helps save time and costs for beneficiaries.
  • Unlike a will, a revocable living trust isn’t a public document. The distribution of assets, thus, remains private.
  • The grantor can modify or cancel the revocable living trust anytime during their lifetime. This flexibility provides control and adaptability.
  • A trust includes provisions for managing the grantor’s assets in case of incapacity. Such provisions ensure their financial affairs are handled properly, even during difficult times.

Some potential drawbacks of revocable living trusts are:

  • Creating a revocable living trust comes with legal fees and associated costs.
  • The trust is required to be correctly funded. The assets transferred to the trust also require consistent management and maintenance.
  • While the trust may help avoid probate, it may not necessarily help avoid estate taxes. Consider consulting a tax professional to explore potential tax implications.
  • If the trust is not appropriately funded or managed, it may fail to fulfill its intended purpose.

How a Washington, D.C., Estate Attorney Can Help You

Working with an experienced estate attorney such as Kevin C. Martin, Attorney at Law, PLLC can be crucial when creating a revocable living trust. We can assist with the following:

  • Guiding you through the legal process of creating a trust

  • Helping you navigate and ensure compliance with Washington, DC. laws and regulations

  • Drafting and reviewing trust documents

  • Providing experienced advice tailored to your needs and goals.

  • Assisting you in making informed decisions

  • Safeguarding your assets and beneficiaries.

Consider consulting us to set up your revocable living trust. We can help you protect your assets and distribute them according to your wishes. Schedule a free consultation with us today!

Frequently Asked Questions


Can Revocable Living Trusts Help Avoid Tax Liability?

No, revocable living trusts typically do not help avoid taxes. The grantor maintains control of a revocable living trust. As such, all assets in the trust are still owned by the grantor. Therefore, the grantor reports the trust’s income on their personal income tax return.

Similarly, the property under a trust is regarded as part of the grantor’s estate for state or federal estate taxes. It is, thus, deductible on the estate tax return. Therefore, revocable living trusts may not help avoid estate tax liability either.

Can I Make Changes to the Trust After I Set it Up?

Yes, as long as you (the grantor) are mentally competent, you can change the trust or transfer the property out of it anytime. The trust becomes irrevocable upon your death, and no further changes are allowed. Consult with your attorney to discuss any changes you would like to make.

What Happens if I Become Incapacitated?

Your successor trustee will manage the trust’s assets on your behalf and follow the instructions outlined in the trust. They can also distribute funds for your care and well-being, as directed by the trust. This helps avoid placing a court-appointed conservator in charge of your assets, as would happen if you solely had a will. Discuss with your lawyer to ensure the trust covers all desired scenarios.