Inter Vivos Trust

The phrase “Inter Vivos” is Latin; it means “Between the living.”  In the estate-planning world, Inter Vivos is assigned to gifts that are given during the lifetime of the person giving the gift.

What’s the difference between an Inter Vivos Trust vs. Testamentary Trust?  Inter Vivos Trusts are set up during lifetime, vs. testamentary which are set up upon death, generally via a Will; Inter Vivos Trusts are only referred to as Living Trusts.

Given this is a legal process, there are clearly stated legal guidelines to follow.  In order for an Inter Vivos gift to be complete, there must the gift-giver’s intent to gift a specific gift must be documented, and the delivery and acceptance of the gift must be documented as well.

An Inter-Vivos Trust is an estate-planning tool also known as a Living Trust.  This particular Trust has a term duration that is predetermined when the Trust is originally executed.  In addition to the term, the Trust’s execution will also detail the intended distribution of assets to the beneficiary during or after the grantor’s lifetime.

Again, the gifts—or assets—housed in the Trust are distributed during the lifetime of the grantor, as opposed to a Testamentary Trust, which distributes gifts/assets upon the death of the grantor.

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time you’ve likely read me warn that you must strive to avoid probate at all costs, and the best reason to execute a Trust is to avoid the agonizing, expensive, humiliating public process of probate.  An Inter Vivos Trust is no exception to that rule.

As opposed to an Irrevocable Trust, an Inter Vivos Trust can be executed as a Revocable Trust which allows the grantor to remove assets from the Trust should the grantor ever deem that necessary.

The Inter Vivos Trust is created like most others; the grantor first funds the Trust by transferring the title of all assets into the Trust, then, once the Trust is established and funded, serving as trustee during their lifetime.

Like all Trusts, an Inter Vivos Trust is a complicated legal document that is not designed to created alone.  Please seek the assistance of a qualified estate-planning lawyer to help you determine if creating an Inter Vivos Trust is in your best interest and in the best interest of your family and heirs.

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