Justin Jeppesen: Family Trust and Living Trust. Different or the same?

What’s in a name?

In estate planning, a difference in the name of a document signifies what, when, who, or how a document is allowed to work. So, a name is a significant aspect of the document.


A Living Trust vs. Family Trust. There are many avenues that we can take concerning names, but that would get convoluted, so let’s just agree to talk about a revocable trust, ie the most common trust you will work with.

A Revocable Living Trust, Revocable Family Trust, Living Trust, Family Trust, Husband’s Trust, Wife’s Trust, Kid’s Trust, they all perform the same functions; avoid probate, reduce or eliminate estate taxes, offer privacy, control distribution of assets, and provide disability or special needs planning, regardless of what it is called.

In this one narrow exception, the name doesn’t mean a whole lot to anyone but you. Typically, the client wants to call his or her trust a Family Trust if the assets are going solely to other family members. Conversely, a Living Trust can sometimes signify that the assets will ultimately go to a larger number of beneficiaries, including foundations, scholarship funds, and charities.

I have had clients get real creative with naming their trusts, including longitude/latitude coordinates of their honeymoon or dream vacation, latin phrases, funny phrases, or real short and sweet first names only, as well. It is up to you and how you want people to refer to your trust. If you leave it to me, I go with the family last name_trust. Not real creative, but that’s my comfort zone.

So, unlike the vast difference between a Living Will and a Will, the difference between a Living Trust and a Family Trust is only what you want it to be.

Contact Jeppesen Law today at 208-477-1785 to get started with your Family Trust or Living Trust.