What is a Trust?

A trust is a written legal document that provides instructions on how the property titled in the trust’s name is to be managed. These written instructions can provide important legal benefits.

There are generally three people who are involved with trusts. First is the person who makes the trust. This person is therefore appropriately known as the “Trustmaker” or as is the case with married couples planning together in one trust, “Joint Trustmakers”. Second is the person or institution (like a bank) entrusted by the Trustmaker to carry out the trust’s instructions. This person is known as the “Trustee.” Third is the person who benefits from the trust. This person is known as the “Trust Beneficiary.” One advantage of Revocable Living Trusts is that the same person who makes the trust can be, and usually is, also the Trustee and the Beneficiary of his or her own trust. Therefore you can make a trust, be the Trustee who manages it, and also be the one who benefits from it.

Trusts have been used since the Middle Ages and actually predate wills. They can also take various forms. Two main types of trusts are “Testamentary Trusts” and “Living Trusts.”