A “trust” is a legal device to manage property. It is established by one person (the grantor) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary). A person who manages the trust is called the Trustee. As with a will, the person creating the trust must be mentally competent at the time of its creation. Trusts can be simple or complex and the reasons for creating trusts may vary. In general, you would use a trust so that certain of your assets could benefit a certain beneficiary without permitting that beneficiary total access to the assets. You may, for instance, establish a trust for a disabled child or adult, or for a minor child, relying on the Trustee to handle the money and make appropriate financial decisions regarding use of the trust funds. If created by an attorney experienced in the use of trusts, it can be an effective estate-planning device. Trusts are not for everyone, so you should consult an attorney to determine if they are appropriate for your situation.

A “trustee” is the person who will manage the trust, so it’s important to name someone who is appropriate for the task. In other words, someone you can trust. A trustee should be honest and fair and able to communicate with the beneficiaries. They should be able to understand the needs of the beneficiaries, and have the time and willingness to serve. A trustee should be able to handle financial matters, and should be concerned only for the interests of the beneficiary, not themselves. Again, family members are often chosen, but friends, attorneys, accountants, and in some instances, banks or corporate trust companies, may serve as trustee.