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A trust is a legal arrangement by which an owner of property transfers legal ownership of property to a person or entity called a trustee. The trustee holds the legal ownership of the property for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The trustee owns, manages and safeguards the property in order to provide income or other benefits to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. The person who creates the trust is called a "Trustor" or "Settlor." The persons or entities who are to receive the ultimate benefits are called the "Beneficiaries."
There are many types of trusts, but the probate court usually works with four basic types: testamentary trusts, inter vivos trusts, wrongful death trusts, special needs trusts.
A testamentary trust is established in a will and comes into existence after a person's death. A person who makes a will is called a "Testator." A person may dictate by the terms of his or her will that upon their death, certain property must be conveyed to a trustee for the benefit of the beneficiaries the person making the will directs. The probate court usually is involved in overseeing the operations and transactions of a testamentary trust.
Inter-vivos is Latin for "during life." Often these trusts are referred to as "Living Trusts." A living trust is one which was created during a person's life, that is, to distinguish it from a testamentary trust which only comes into being upon the death of the testator. These types of trusts are frequently used to avoid the need for affecting the transfer of property through the probate court.
Wrongful Death Trusts
When a person under twenty-five years of age is to receive money in the form of money damages from a wrongful death legal action, the probate court may order that the funds be held in trust in order to preserve the funds and to allow the court to administer the fund until the beneficiary is ready to receive the full amount.
The information contained on this web site is not legal advice, nor should it substitute for the assistance of a qualified attorney. Good legal assistance can speed up the court process and prevent making costly legal errors. Get more information on obtaining an attorney.
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