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What Is a Trust?

Learn about trusts in this Howcast finance video with expert Gregory McGraime.


A trust is a legal document that a lot of people set up for estate planning purposes. And in general there are two types of trusts that people can set up. What's called a revocable living trust. And revocable meaning you can change the terms anytime you want. And living trust it's set up while you are alive or there are what's called irrevocable trust. And irrevocable trust once they're set up and funded usually are very difficult or if not impossible to change. So that is why would someone set up a trust from an estate planning perspective. Usually for a few direct reasons. I mean first when you set up a trust, any assets that are inside that trust can be managed in a specific way. Whether you got sick, whether you passed away, your wishes in regards to those assets are being managed, and you've outlined all the ways that you want that money to be managed going forward. So somebody is looking at that reading that trust document and using that as their guide. Any assets that are in a trust bypass the court probate process when someone dies. That's something you can't do with a basic will. And so they provide an element of ease and transition when someone passes away. And they keep the settlement of the estate very private. That's another important goal that a lot of people have. A third reason people might set up trusts from an estate planning stand point is to try and to receive some type of tax benefit. And there are a lot of different types of trust and a lot of different types of tax benefits that you may get. Either from income tax or from a state tax. But that's a third reason that someone might set up a trust. Now you are watching hear, does everyone need to set up a trust? The answer to that is no. But as the amount of assets you have increases and the complexity of your situation increases then it is must more likely that you would need a trust. As far as getting a trust in most cases I would recommend that you go out and seek an estate planning attorney to draft a trust. Usually when you are dealing with something that's complicated it is probably better to get professional guidance on it rather than trying doing it on their own. Also, make sure you don't make this vital mistake because I have had a lot of high network clients. that go to an attorney they get a trust document drafted but they don't put the assets in name of the trust. And as a result the money that they spend and all that effort is worthless if the name of the account is not inside the trust. or if the house is not listed in the name of the trust. So make sure you do not make that mistake. Again a trust can be really good for a lot of people, but not everyone needs one. So you really need to review your entire estate plan to see if it is appropriate for your situation.

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