Often people know it’s time to put together an estate plan, but they’ve been postponing it. Now may be the time to get started. If you were to die today, what would happen to your family? For example, without a will, the courts could decide who raises your children and control the distribution of your probate estate. And you want to make sure the assets you’ve worked so hard to accumulate during your lifetime aren’t dissipated by taxes or perhaps, by your beneficiaries’ creditors. Estate planning can seem like a complex process, but it is made easier with the support of capable, experienced professionals.
The most common estate planning document is a will. A will lets you direct how your assets should be administered, to whom—and under what circumstances—your assets should be distributed, and who should manage your assets after your death.
Trusts are used to create a legal arrangement through which assets are held for a beneficiary. A trustee is designated to manage the assets according to the terms in the trust documents. You provide direction about how the trustee should manage the assets, and under what terms the trustee should distribute them. The terms of the trust can be tailored to satisfy your goals and any concerns you have, as well as meet the needs of your beneficiaries. Here are the parties usually involved in a trust:
Grantor: The person creating the trust (also called settlor, creator, or trustor).
Beneficiary: One entitled to receive part or all of the property under the terms of the trust, either now or in the future. A beneficiary can be an individual or an entity. When a DAPT is used, the grantor can be named a beneficiary.
Trustee: The company (or person) that holds the legal title to the assets in the trust and is generally responsible for administering the trust in accordance with its terms.