When and How Does a Trust End?

Trusts are artificial legal entities that can own property, sue and be sued (just like a person). They, like corporations, are treated as separate legal entities. Trusts form one of the pillars of estate planning (along with wills and a few other strategies). This post will go over the basics of how trusts operate and how they end.

Trusts are an easy way to manage property if you are worried you cannot do it yourself in the future. A trust is a separate legal entity. The property held by the trust is called the "corpus." The trust is administered by an executor. The executor is usually a bank or professional service business. The executor's job is to manage the trust in the best interests of the beneficiaries, to follow the instructions on how to manage the trust, and the place the interests of the beneficiaries ahead of her own.

A trust ends in two situations, first, if the grantor specifies a date of termination or condition is triggering termination. If either of those is met, the trust is terminated, and the assets are distributed per the grantor's instructions. If there are no instructions, the executor distributes the assets in the fairest way possible.

The second way a trust could end is if the corpus of the trust is exhausted. The assets could become exhausted if the executor does a bad job and the assets lose their value. The could also exhaust if they are sold.

Are you thinking about planning for your retirement or our estate? If you are, you may want to consult with an attorney to review the various strategies. There are many ways to estate plan. A lawyer can go over each strategy and advise you of the pros and cons of each one. The likeliest answer is that you will utilize a mixture of trusts and a will to fully dispose of your estate.

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