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Setting Up a Trust

In order to establish a trust, you must understand the following terminology:

  • Grantor: The person who creates the trust.
  • Trustee: The person who will manage the trust.
  • Successor trustee: The person who will succeed the trustee should the trustee be unable to manage the trust.
  • Beneficiaries: The recipients of the trust’s earnings or assets.
  • Children’s trusts: Trusts created for underage children.
  • Guardian: The person who raises children in lieu of parents.
  • Children’s trustee: The person who manages children’s assets in lieu of their parents.

A qualified estate-planning lawyer or financial planner can help you establish a trust. Be sure to consult with a lawyer or financial planner who is not trying to sell you any products. Insist on seeing identification and a description of your consultant’s qualifications, education, and expertise in estate planning. Seeking advice from good, qualified help is important, especially if the size of the trust is significant and if there may be questions as to how assets should be distributed.

Do not allow yourself to be rushed. Ask for time to consider your decision, and report high-pressure tactics, misrepresentations, or fraud immediately to the Better Business Bureau. Always ask for a copy of any documents you sign and know your cancellation rights. Finally, be wary of home solicitors who insist on receiving confidential and detailed information. If any concerns arise, you can call the Better Business Bureau and report the solicitors.

Be aware of the costs of establishing and managing a trust. The costs will vary from lawyer to lawyer, but they should include the costs of reviewing your assets and their present titles, discussing your estate plan, preparing your trust, and supervising the execution of the trust and the transfer of assets.


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