Strategic Business Solution Specialists
© Spearhead Strategy Pros, LLC 2010
What is a Trust?
A trust is not an entity but rather a contractual arrangement by which one party (a
trustee or co-trustee) holds title to property for the benefit of another (the
beneficiaries) in a fiduciary capacity.
A trust is created when a Grantor executes a trust agreement with the trustee. The
trust agreement is then drafted and the agreement states exactly how the trustee is
to handle, manage and distribute the trust assets for the beneficiaries. Once the
trust agreement has been established, the trust must be funded with assets. The
trust assets are known as the corpus (Latin for body) of the trust.
Intervivos Vs. Testamentary Trust
Trusts can be created during the lifetime of the Grantor or upon his or her death. A
trust created during the Grantors lifetime is an intervivos trust (Latin for between
the living). A trust created upon ones death is a testamentary trust. Most intervivos
trusts are designated to be revocable, meaning that they can be canceled, changed
or terminated by the Grantor at will.
Revocable trusts are convenient because they are not permanent while the Grantor
is still alive. The Grantor can modify or terminate the trust anytime (all Spearhead
Strategy Pros Estate Plan trusts are revocable trusts). By using a revocable trust,
you can manage your assets during your lifetime and then pass them on to future
generations at your death, without the need of a court supervised, lengthy and
expensive probate proceeding.
This is why Revocable Trusts are a basic tool for modern estate planning and also
a prime tool for holding various types of assets like personal property (using a
Living Trust), corporate stock (using a Shareholders Trust the backbone of the
Business Estate Plan) and for holding real estate (using a Land Trust).
Trusts give the Grantor the power to place conditions on inheritance. Do you want
to provide for your family, but worry about the abilities of your children to manage a
lump sum? In this case, you can place it in a trust and relinquish control of a
percentage of assets to different beneficiaries at various intervals.
Power of Direction
Unlike the typical living trust, which vests all the power and management of the
trust assets in the trustee, the Shareholder Trusts and Land Trusts that
SPEARHEAD STRATEGY PROS drafts, vest the power and duty of management
of the trust assets in the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries also possess the power of
direction to tell the trustee what to do in relation to the trust property.
Additionally the beneficiaries have the power to terminate the trustee at any time if
they deem it necessary. This power of direction is necessary because the
beneficiaries do not have title and thus must direct the trustee to execute
documents such as deeds, mortgages and leases.
Further, unlike the typical living trust, Shareholder Trusts and Land Trusts provide
for the use of a single authorized signatory of the Grantors choosing (called a co-
trustee) to sign documents for and on behalf of the trustee. This authorized
signatory is the ONLY person who will be authorized to sign documents and
he/she/it can ONLY execute documents upon receiving written direction from the
beneficiaries. Thus further establishing the beneficiaries control and power of
direction over the trust assets.
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