A trust is a legal agreement that allows you (the trustor) to transfer property and assets for the benefit of someone else (the beneficiaries). Beneficiaries can be individuals, businesses, or charitable organizations. You place your assets under control of a trustee, an individual or organization that manages and distributes the assets as set out in a trust document specifying your wishes.

A trust can give you:

  • Control--by protecting your beneficiaries from fraud or mismanagement of your assets, especially in case of your disability or death.
  • Continuity--by continuing to manage your assets appropriately if you encounter a life-changing event.
  • Privacy--by keeping your affairs out of the public record. A will becomes a public record when it's filed with a probate court upon your death, so if you use just a will for estate planning, anyone can access it.
  • Tax advantages--by distributing your assets in a way that minimizes your tax burden, or that of your beneficiaries.

There are many types of trusts, each designed to accomplish specific goals.


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