I was told I need a trust. What is it, and why would I need one?
A trust is really an ownership arrangement. You can own all your assets on your own, in your personal name, but a trust is a vehicle that can own the assets and avoid a court process when you pass away.
[In this situation] I'm talking about a revocable trust.
If you created a revocable trust, you would be the grantor. And that just means that you're the person who sets the terms of the document and asks a lawyer to write it up. You'd also be the trustee of the trust and that's technically the legal owner of the trust document. And you'd also be the beneficiary of the trust and you're the person who gets to use all of those trust assets.
So if you think about it, if you're the grantor, you're the trustee, and the beneficiary, it's really yours during your lifetime. The goal [of a revocable trust] is to get things funded into this trust, like transferring your home, transferring your bank accounts to the trust, investment accounts in the trust. Naming the trust as the beneficiary of retirement assets so that when you pass away and all of your assets are in a revocable style trust, the goal is to avoid probate. It's really just an ownership arrangement that helps you avoid a court process when you die.