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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Q: What is a revocable living trust?

Whether they’re from the music or television world, celebrities are viewed by some as role models – much to the chagrin of parents that might disagree with the examples set by their on-stage or off-screen behavior. Antics and personalities aside, estate planning attorneys are more likely to judge celebrities on their choices – or lack of choices – in the estate planning department.

Mega-stars, like the late Prince, sometimes die without any estate planning documents in place, leaving an estate administration nightmare behind. Others, like the recently- departed Beverly Hills 90210 and Riverdale star, Luke Perry, apparently had their estate planning act together.

Perry was a relatively-young, divorced, 52-year-old father of two young adult children when he died of a massive stroke in March 2019. In addition to his two children, he reportedly had a fiancée. His two children reportedly each inherited a 50% interest in the late actor’s multi-million-dollar home in Los Angeles, which was apparently held in a revocable living trust. It is unclear what other property may be held in the Luke Perry Revocable Trust or whether any other property will transfer by operation of law or through the probate process.

Why use a revocable living trust?

A revocable living trust allows for the transfer of certain assets from individual ownership into ownership by the trust. While state laws differ, you can generally act as the trustee and maintain control of the assets during your lifetime as long as you are mentally competent – and you can even modify or terminate the trust at any time. Then, upon your death, the property in the trust will be managed and its assets distributed by your successor trustee in accordance with your wishes.

Some major benefits of transferring assets through a living trust instead of through your last will and testament is that it is generally a more private, cost-efficient, and faster process than going through the probate court process.

If you need assistance with an initial estate plan, would like to modify an existing one, or have any questions regarding wills or trusts, the estate planning experts at Merlino & Gonzalez can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Staten Island, New York, and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent clients in both states in all areas of estate planning and estate and trust administration.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.