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What ends a trust?

Many people use various kinds of trusts to preserve their assets and ensure that their intentions are stated and followed regarding their estates. There are different concerns involving trusts — how to establish and use them, the pros and cons of each type — but it can be unclear how trusts are terminated.

The most common way that a trust might expire is for the underlying assets held within the the trust to become depleted or otherwise nullified. For instance, a trust may contain an amount of money meant to be given to a beneficiary at a specific time or when certain conditions have been met (perhaps in installments). Once there is no more money to distribute, the trust is no longer relevant, and it dissolves. Likewise, if a trust holds physical property or real estate, if the property or land is destroyed, then the trust is dissolved.

A trust may also come to an end if the creator specifies conditions that dissolve the trust, such as his or her own death, or a beneficiary reaching a certain age. At this point, the trustee would dissolve the trust and distribute the assets accordingly.

There are also ways to create trusts that may last for multiple generations, if that is desired. These kinds of trusts are referred to as dynasty trusts, and each state handles them in different ways. If you are interested setting up a trust to safeguard your estate for whatever reason, seeking the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney is an excellent way to ensure that you create the perfect document for your specific needs.

Source: Findlaw, "How Does a Trust End?," accessed Nov. 24, 2016

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