What is a trust

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Most people have heard of a Will because it is so commonly portrayed in books and movies. All of the heirs are shown sitting with rapt attention while an attorney reads the Will and describes who will rewarded by the decedent. A Will normally states the decedent’s last wishes. Property is distributed, guardians are requested for minors, caretakers are named for pets, etc. All of this must take place within a few months or years after the death of the Testator. In Utah, a Will is void if it is not probated within three years of death.

Less commonly seen is the Trust. Trusts are less dramatic as they are designed to operate both during the Trustor’s lifetime, and last many years after death, allowing the Trustor to maintain or give away property for many years into the future. If the decedent owned any real property like a home, cabin or farmland, and the decedent left no Trust, the heirs would be forced to go to court to receive ownership of real property. Trusts skip probate court and allow the current Trustee to sell the property and distribute it to your heirs without oversight by the State.

Trusts allow the Trustor to direct that assets be held in Trust until heirs reach a certain age or accomplish a certain goal, such as graduating from college. If an heir becomes mentally disabled and unable to manage their own money, the Trustee can hold on to the inheritance and pay for the heir’s needs directly, or give the funds to someone that can use them to care for the heir. Without a Trust, family of a disabled heir would need to go to court to seek a guardianship or conservatorship to prevent the misuse of an inheritance.

Trusts are extremely flexible and operate entirely out of court. Anyone with real property, or just a desire to have control over how and when their assets are distributed to heirs, should seriously consider creating a Trust.

Here at Prigmore Law, I have the experience of creating many Trusts for clients over the past decade. I can help you identify goals and make effective plans. Give us a call and learn how easy and inexpensive it is to create and maintain a Trust. Your family will thank you!

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