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What is a Trust? Should You Have One?

Trusts It is a common misconception that trusts, or trust funds as they are commonly called, are only useful for wealthy people. When set up properly, trusts can be appropriate for people with minor children or those who want to avoid having their estate go through probate upon death. These are basic facts about trusts – but, be sure to consult a licensed attorney experienced with estate planning and trust matters before making any final decisions about if one is right for you. How Trusts Work Creating a trust (or trust fund) establishes a legal entity that holds property or assets for the person who created it. The person who creates the trust can be called a grantor, donor, or settlor. When the grantor creates the trust he or she appoints a person or entity (like the trust department of a bank) to manage the trust. This person or entity is called a trustee. The grantor also chooses someone who will ultimately benefit from the trust, this person is the beneficiary. In some situations the grantor, trustee, and beneficiary are all the same person. In this case, the grantor should also appoint a successor trustee and beneficiary in case he or she dies or becomes incapacitated. A trust is a helpful estate planning tool because after death a trust doesn’t go through the probate process like a will does. Reasons To Set Up A Trust Some common reasons for setting up a trust include: Providing for minor children or family members who are inexperienced or unable to handle financial matters Providing for management of personal assets should one become...