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Does a Revocable Living Trust in Illinois Have to Be Witnessed By Two Witnesses?

The short answer is no, it does not. A Revocable Living Trust (also known as a Declaration of Trust or Family Trust) does not require two witnesses. Although, it should be notarized. This is unlike a Last Will and Testament, which has a two witnesses requirement and a notary requirement. Why are these requirements different? They are different because although they have similar functions, a Revocable Living Trust and a Last Will and Testament are two distinct and different documents and you should know the differences between the two.

What is the Difference Between A Will and A Revocable Living Trust?

There are many differences between a Revocable Living Trust and a Last Will and Testament. These differences tend to give Revocable Living Trusts advantages over a Last Will and Testament. Here are some of those differences highlighted:

1. There is something called a Spendthrift Provision that is in a Revocable Living Trust. A Spendthrift Provision prevents a divorcing spouse or creditor from gaining your loved one’s hard-earned money and assets in the event that they pass away.

2. Another difference involves the privacy of the two documents. A Last Will and Testament is a public document. This means that it must be filed at the local courthouse. On the contrary, a Revocable Living Trust is a document that remains private and is not available for the public to see.

3. Cost is a another difference between these documents. A Last Will and Testament is typically a long and expensive process involving different types of court fees. The reason a Last Will and Testament can be so expensive is that it must be probated. Probate is the term for a legal process in which a Will is reviewed to determine whether it is valid an authentic. A Revocable Living Trust, on the other hand, provides a more smooth, less expensive route in which you and your loved ones can accomplish these same goals minus all of the court fees associated with a Will.

4. Also, the amount of control a Trustor (the maker of the trust) has is different depending on whether you have a Revocable Living Trust or a Last Will and Testament. With a Revocable Living Trust, a Trustor has much more control in regards to assets beyond their debt. A Trustor does this by setting up incentives, stipulations, and requirements for how your beneficiaries will inherent their money. Because of the control the Trustor has, beneficiaries such as adult children, who are spendthrifts themselves, are more protected from themselves.

5. In a Revocable Living Trust minor children can be set to inherit money in a specific way in which you describe.

6. Additionally, with a Revocable Living Trust, there is an option for you to set up what is called a Bloodline Trust. In a Bloodline Trust, in-laws are prevented from inheriting money. This means that the family inheritance stays in the (bloodline) family.

What Does a Trustee or Co-Trustee Do and How Do I Pick One?

When deciding who should be your Trustee or Co-Trustees, the first consideration should be trust, of course. A Trustee is someone tasked with and incredibly important and serious job that involves a lot of time. It is also a highly technical job that comes with many different and difficult responsibilities. It is paramount that first and foremost, the person you are putting in charge is someone you trust to handle this immense responsibility. Once you have determined who is the person (or people) you trust to hold this position, there are secondary considerations to make.

One consideration you should take into account whether this person is an organized person who is capable of record keeping and reporting. There is a lot of paperwork entrusted to the person in the Trustee position and it is important that the Trustee is someone who can keep things organized and running as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

Another consideration you should make is whether this person has the ability to make difficult decisions. A trustee is responsible for implementing the wishes that you have outlined in your Revocable Living Trust upon your death and these may not always be easy decisions to make. They can be complicated and emotional, so it is important that a Trustee be able to do so. A Trustee is also tasked with being in charge of any administrative expenses. An example of an administrative expense is funeral expenses. The Trustee is the one who must decide how funeral expenses will be paid and who will pay them.

Partnering with Gateville Law Firm

Sean Robertson and Gateville Law Firm concentrate in estate planning. Our estate planning lawyers and staff utilize cutting-edge estate planning and asset protection strategies to protect the economic security and peace of mind of our clients. We are eager to assist you and your family with their estate plans. We are passionate about helping families to protect their assets and create a legacy plan.

Attorney Sean Robertson is available at 630-780-1034 or available through an online contact form.

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