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There are various types of legal documents which people commonly use to plan their estates. One of the most popular and useful types of legal instruments in Maryland and any other state is a revocable living trust. This document allows an individual to choose who will receive his or her money and assets after death. Along with the trust maker's signature, a living trust must also have a trustee.

The trust maker and the trustee are generally one and the same while the trust maker is still alive. However, after a trust maker's death there should be a successor trustee which is designated to take over the trust. For most people, this will be a corporate trustee with a trust department that is independent of one's financial advisor. Some corporate trust firms will put assets into predetermined investments, while others will replace the current assets held in trust.

Independent corporate trusts are required to follow guidelines to maintain general fiduciary duties. The corporate trust must competently maintain continuity. It must also stay in compliance with applicable state laws as well as give detailed statements and full reports every year. Most of the time, one's financial advisor and the independent corporate trust administrator should collaborate to act in the best interest of maintaining the trust.

However, when drafting a revocable living trust document, an individual may also want to be sure to have a broad understanding of the applicable Maryland state laws. It can also essential to pay close attention to the exact language of the legal document. This will ensure that the trust is legally enforceable and is successful in helping to avoid probate.

Source: foxbusiness.com, "The Power of Trusts," Dennis Holmstrom, July 9, 2013