A trust is a legally recognized relationship between the settlor/trustor (who establishes the trust), the trustee (the fiduciary who administers the trust), and the beneficiary (who receives the benefit of the trust assets). A trust also can be thought of as a separate legal entity, like a corporation, which manages and distributes assets for the benefit of its beneficiaries. If the trust holds real property, it must be in writing.
In most estate plans, the person who creates the trust also is the initial trustee as well as the beneficiary. The trust also has provisions for a successor trustee in case the settlor/beneficiary is unwilling or unable to continue to act as trustee. The trust then has instructions that, upon the passing of the settlor, the remaining assets are distributed to identified individuals or entitites.
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