What is a Trust Agreement

A trust is a formal and legal agreement which a trustor, the person setting up the trust, entrusts the ownership rights of one or more assets to different trustees. The trustor does so for preservation and protection on behalf of the beneficiaries of the trust.

This written document would normally state the imposed rules that you want to be followed by the trustees. This document includes the purpose of the trust, details of the assets, the powers and limitations of the trustees, and their compensations if there is any. Common objectives of trust agreements are to reduce the estate tax liability and to avoid probate. A trust agreement that involves a real estate will need an exact description, the trustor's written consent, and authorized signature for the agreement to be valid. Wills that are admitted to probate can also act as a trust agreement. These wills can be called as a trust deed, trust document, or trust instrument.

How to Write a Trust Agreement?

There are various types of trust: [1] Living trust is made by the trustor and managed by a trustee who has the legal duty to take care of the trust and makes sure it falls on the best interests of the beneficiary. [2] Testamentary trust is established in the last will and testament of a person naming the trust as the beneficiary. [3] Revocable trust is a trust where provisions can be changed or canceled by the grantor. [4] Irrevocable trust is the opposite of the revocable where provision cannot be altered or canceled. It is essential that you know the difference between these trusts so that it will be easier for you to choose one that works best for you. However different these trusts are, they have similar things that should be written on the agreement. We have listed those points below.

1. Make a List of All Assets

When you say assets, it can be anything from tangible items like houses, cars, and pieces of jewelry to intangible items like stocks, trust funds, and life insurance policies. List them down to give a clearer picture of the assets that you would like to distribute.

2. Find Paperworks for Assets

Make sure all the paperwork such as titles, deeds, and stock certificates are ready to hand over to your attorney. This will enable your attorney to easily transfer assets once your trust will be put into action.

3. Declare Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries are the ones to receive all your assets. Family and friends are the typical beneficiaries, however, your beneficiaries can also be non-profit or business organizations. Also, you can discuss with your lawyer if you don't want someone to get any advantage from your assets.

4. Name a Trustee

A trustee will be the one to handle your affairs once you are incapable of handling it. A trustee is trusted to make the decision for the beneficiary's best interest. They will pay debts and distribute your assets according to your trust's instructions.

5. Designate Guardian for Minors

In case that you will be leaving a minor, you can designate a guardian for the minors in your trust. You can state until what age will that guardian be taking care of that minor.

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