What is a Trust?

A trust is a device for holding property in which the ownership is divided between a trustee and a beneficiary. Trusts are almost always documents which record in detail the purpose, the corpus (i.e., the property, be it cash, stocks, real estate, etc.), the beneficiary and the terms of administration, distribution and termination. The trustee holds the legal title to the property and has both the right and the duty to manage the property for the benefit of the beneficiary. The beneficiary has an equitable interest in the property, which means that, although the beneficiary may have no right to manage the property, he may have some right to economic benefit flowing from the property.

There are many types of testamentary trusts (which activate at your death and are a part of your Will) and intervivos trusts (created independent of your Will prior to your passing, which may or may not be a part of your taxable estate.) These documents, and all the tools within your estate plan, should work together with the rest of your financial plan to form a comprehensive whole.

Charitable bequests, irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable remainder annuity or uni trusts, special needs trusts – estate planning is filled with words and monikers that most of us rarely use in our everyday life. We will help you decide what is best for you.

What laws govern Trusts?

Our Commonwealth’s legislature passed our own version of the Uniform Trust Act in 2006, fully implementing it by the fall of 2008. This act codified Pennsylvania common law and brought together into one place the laws governing trusts. The Act also brought trust administration into a much closer alliance with estate administration. Mateya Law Firm can advise you concerning any existing trust and how the new Act affects your rights and responsibilities as a trustee or beneficiary.

Trusts require careful drafting, a thorough knowledge of the Federal and State laws which govern them, as well as a clear purpose for their existence. Our office can assist you in the creation and administration of trusts, effectively expanding the options you have as you plan your legacy.

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