Trustee refers to a person or company who holds property placed within a trust that belongs to beneficiaries. There are different types of trusts including irrevocable life insurance trusts, living trusts and testamentary trusts.
A trust consists of a Trustor, Trustee and beneficiary. The Trustor is the individual who establishes the trust. Typically, the Trustee is appointed through the Trustor's Last Will and Testament. The Will becomes part of the trust and the Trustee is responsible for administering the estate upon the Trustor's death.
Beneficiary refers to the person the Trustor designates to receive the property held within the trust. Beneficiaries can include any person or entity including direct lineage heirs, corporations and non-profit organizations.
Trust property can include cash, investment portfolios, real estate, insurance proceeds, motor vehicles, water craft, personal belongings, household furnishings, jewelry, collectables and businesses. Any tangible property can be included in the trust agreement. The trust agreement is the legal instrument which outlines directives for the Trustee.
Executing a living trust allows the estate to avoid probate. Living trusts can be arranged as revocable or irrevocable. Revocable living trusts can be altered in the event changes need to be made. Irrevocable living trusts cannot be altered once they are established.
Irrevocable life insurance trusts allow the Trustee to provide distributions to beneficiaries immediately or at specific times throughout the beneficiary's life. In essence, life insurance trusts are a container which hold a life insurance policy and removes it from the estate. The primary purpose of life insurance trusts is to exclude death benefits from estate taxation.
Testamentary trusts are attached to a Will and must adhere to statutory requirements of the state in which they are filed. Testamentary trusts are used to transfer or conserve financial assets. The Will advises the Trustee how to administer the estate in the event of the decedent's death. Generally, all, or a portion of estate assets are bequeathed to the Trustee.
Arranging trusts requires the assistance of an estate planning lawyer. In most cases, a flat fee is charged to arrange the trust. If legal assistance is required to manage the trust or make changes, additional attorney fees will be charged.
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