A trust takes the form of a legal document in which one person holds and manages property for the benefit of another person. Trusts can be inter vivos (living) or testamentary. A living trust is funded while the settlor (person setting up the trust) is alive. A testamentary trust is funded upon the death of the settlor through his or her will. Trusts can be used for many purposes which may include making charitable gifts, protecting assets for future generations, avoiding estate taxes and for those with special needs.
A trust is also an efficient estate-planning tool that allows an individual to disperse assets while avoiding probate. There are numerous benefits in avoiding probate such as privacy, attorney fees, costs and immediate management and/or distribution of trusts assets in accordance with the trusts instructions and terms.
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