A trust is an agreement regarding the management of assets. There are many different kinds of trusts. For instance, there are charitable trusts, life insurance trusts, education trusts, etc. The most commonly used trust and the one that most people are thinking of when they refer to a trust is a revocable living trust.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF A REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST?
Every trust is created to accomplish a goal. The purpose of a revocable living trust is to avoid probate, an issue we all have to face. That is why it is the most common type of trust.
HOW IS A TRUST AGREEMENT STRUCTURED?
All trusts have a trustor, a trustee and at least one beneficiary. They can all be the same person or they can be three different people, depending on the purpose of the trust.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE TRUSTOR?
The trustor is the person whose goals drive the design of the trust. The trustor signs the trust agreement to create the trust. The trustor transfers the assets he wants the trust to control to the trust. For instance, he may sign a deed covering his home for purposes of transferring ownership of the home to the trust. He may also decide to have the trust own his investments (or any other assets) in which case those assets will no longer be in his name but will be titled in the name of the trust.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE TRUSTEE?
The trustee's job is to follow the plan the trustor has built into his trust agreement. Often the trustor of a revocable living trust is also the initial trustee.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE BENEFICIARY?
The beneficiary has the best job. The beneficiary gets the benefits of the assets in the trust, i.e., usually the income from the investments and the right to live in the home held by the trust, etc. With a revocable living trust, the trustor is also the first beneficiary of the trust.
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