A living trust permits you to have control over the distribution of your assets after your death while you are still alive. Essentially, it is a contract in which you transfer ownership or title of assets into a trust so that your estate isn’t subject to probate or made a public record. Unless stipulated otherwise, a living trust is fully revocable and you can dissolve it yourself at any time.
Make certain that you are the grantor of the trust. If someone else is named as the grantor, then that person will have to take the steps necessary to dissolve the trust. If you are unsure, consult an attorney.
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Transfer all of the assets that currently fund the trust back into your own name. Just as you obtained new titles or deeds to indicate the change in ownership when you created the trust, you must do so to dissolve the trust. Because the trust owns all of the property itemized in the document, you must resume ownership of your assets -- that is, "de-fund" the trust -- before legally dissolving it.
Obtain a Revocation of Trust form, either from the court in which you originally filed your trust, or from your attorney.
Prepare the form according to the instructions provided. This is a simple document that states that you have the authority to dissolve the living trust and provides the effective date of revocation.
Have this form witnessed and notarized, and file it with the court in the county in which the trust was created.
A living trust has no effect on tax liabilities. Consult a tax professional if you are concerned that there may be complications related to the distribution of your estate that result in unforeseen tax consequences.
Check with the clerk of the probate or surrogate's court in your county to find out if there are any specific filing requirements before submitting a Revocation of Trust form to dissolve your living trust. Be aware that the clerk can only answer questions relating to procedures of the court and cannot, by law, provide legal advice.
Karyn Maier is a seasoned columnist and feature writer. Since 1992, her work has appeared in Mother Earth News, The Herb Quarterly, Better Nutrition and in many other print and digital publications. She is also the author of five books, and is published in six languages.