Trust and Estates Newsletters
A will is a legal document that explains where a person wants or does not want his property to go after his death. A will becomes effective upon death and until then, it can be revoked or amended. If a person dies without a will, a court will determine where his property goes according to state law.
Traditionally, a state statute of descent and distribution provides the order of preference for disposal of an intestate’s net estate. As a general rule, the person or persons with the highest rank in the order of preference who survive the intestate take all of the intestate’s net estate.
As executor, your first step in settling the decedent’s estate is to find all of the decedent’s assets. You must then figure out which assets belonged solely to the decedent so that you can protect them until they can be distributed either according to the decedent’s will or state intestacy laws. Finding such assets can be a challenge.
A trust has five main elements. First, a settlor transfers some or all of his or her property. Second, the property transferred by the settlor is designated trust property. Third, the trust property designated by the settlor is transferred with the settlor’s intent that it be managed by another. Fourth, the trust property designated by the settlor is transferred for management by a trustee. Fifth, the trust property designated by the settlor is managed by a trustee for the benefit of a beneficiary.
An express trust is either public or private. A public trust, also known as a charitable trust, is an express trust created for a charitable purpose. If an express trust is not a charitable trust, it is deemed to be a private trust. A private trust is an express trust created to benefit a few persons. This article discusses some aspects of public and private trusts.