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‘Express trusts: How do they work?

An “express trust” is a convenient way to incorporate a trust into your last will and testament. This kind of trust, also known as a “testamentary trust,” goes into effect at the time of your death. It does not affect your finances while you’re still alive.

Testamentary trusts get written into the will or into another document that the will references. The testamentary trust will arise when the creator of the will passes away. It will specifically state how certain assets shall be distributed following the death of the estate owner. These kinds of trusts are particularly useful for estate planners who wish to protect their assets and the inheritances they leave behind from the immature impulses of their heirs. Beneficiaries might not be ready to manage assets on their own, and a testamentary trust can protect the inheritance from other family members.

When creating a testamentary trust, here are the different parties that must be referenced:

The settlor: This person who created the trust, i.e., the owner of the estate. He or she may also be referred to as the grantor.

The trustee: This is the person who will handle and manage the assets found within the trust. The trustee must manage and distribute the assets in accordance with the instructions detailed in the trust documentation.

Beneficiaries: These are the individuals or parties for the benefit of whom the trust was created. They could include minor children, relatives with disabilities and others who stand to inherit assets of high value.

If you’re considering the creation of a testamentary trust as a part of your will, our legal team can advise you of whether this type of express trust is right for you and your beneficiaries.

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