Three Players in Every Trust

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You’ve heard about the many advantages of having a revocable living trust, but one of the most common questions we get is “who is in control of the trust.” Let’s discuss the three primary roles or players in every single trust.

The "Players"

One, you have a settlor who “sets up” or creates and funds the trust.

Then, you have a trustee who holds legal title to the trust assets and administers the property – like a manager of the playbook created by the settlor.

Third, you have the beneficiary. For and to whom the trustee is managing the trust assets; who receives the benefits of the trust.

A revocable living trust is something you create while you are alive. The trust document is typically drafted to provide that you are the settlor, the trustee, and the beneficiary of the trust. If you are a married, the trust is typically a joint trust where you and your spouse are both the settlors, trustees, and beneficiaries.

The trust typically allows you to continue using your property the same way as you did before you funded the trust. There is no loss of control. For most clients, once the trust is funded, they don’t even know it is there.

As the name suggests, this type of trust may be amended and revoked at any time by the settlor. When you create a trust, you are and forever will be the settlor of your trust.

Upon death or incapacity, you get to name a successor trustee. Or, if we think of it in baseball terms, if you strike out – who is on deck and who is in the hole – to serve as trustee.

Upon death, you get to say what happens to the trust assets. In other words, who is the new beneficiary of the trust. If you are married, the trust can continue as an ongoing revocable living trust for the surviving spouse, where the survivor continues as the trustee and beneficiary. You can leave assets to your children or other beneficiaries either outright or in trust.

Is a trust appropriate for your situation?

Whether you’ve already started planning or are just starting to give it some thought, we encourage you to reach out to our Madison estate planning attorneys today for a no-obligation conversation to see whether our team at Estate Law Partners is a good fit for you. Contact us at (608) 447-0006. We look forward to helping soon.

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