Understanding difference between trustee, trust and related terms

Many older people in Georgia are concerned with issues having to do with long-term care. Planning an estate often intersects with various long-term care situations. Creating a solid plan is easier if one first seeks clarification regarding terminology, such as trustee, beneficiary, revocable, irrevocable and more.  

Trusts are integral components of many people’s estate or long-term care plans. A person can create a trust during his or her lifetime although a trust may also be created through a final will. A trust is basically a right to certain property, which is held by a fiduciary for the benefit of another individual. 

A trustee, on the other hand, is a party or parties designated as a holder of the property, charged with the duty of administering the trust at the appropriate time. Benefits of a trust are transferred to a beneficiary or beneficiaries at the specified time. If a trust is revocable (sometimes referred to as a living trust) it can be modified or withdrawn at any time. An irrevocable trust means that the trustor in question has made a permanent decision, as such trusts can never be altered or revoked.  

Other types of trusts include charitable trusts, asset protection trusts and constructive trusts. Before accepting a role as a trustee, it is critical that one understands exactly what is expected, including any and all fiduciary (legal obligation by virtue of relationship) duties associated with the position. A Georgia long-term care planning attorney can explain such terms and provide guidance as to which type of trust best fits one’s particular needs and goals.  

Source: FindLaw, “Types of Trusts“, Accessed on May 22, 2018

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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