An express trust is one that is set up by the settlor intentionally and which becomes distributable to beneficiaries either during the settlor's lifetime or after death. Such trusts can be useful in helping heirs who currently are not able to care for themselves, or can be distributed after death in any way the settlor wishes. A Conroe estate planning attorney can help you put together a trust that adheres to state law and that reflects your intentions.
Required Elements in an Express Trust
In order for your express trust to be valid it must contain certain information. The elements necessary may seem obvious, but a Conroe estate planning attorney can tell you that legal documents are often deemed invalid for lack of some basic element. The trust must:
- Name you as the settlor, or creator, of the trust.
- Indicate that it is your intention to set up the trust.
- Name all beneficiaries.
- Identify the property to be included in the trust.
The property contained in an express trust is referred to as the “res,” or thing decided. In essence, the express trust operates as a tool whereby the settlor decides how assets held within will be distributed. An express trust does not take the place of a will, but the assets within generally are not subject to probate.
Express vs. Implied Trusts
An express trust may be defined in terms of what it is not. This type of trust reflects the intentions of the settlor. Often a trustee is named in the document; if not, a probate court will appoint one after the death of the settlor. Express trusts take many forms, such as discretionary, charitable, and life insurance trusts. These trusts serve the following purposes:
- They clearly identify the wishes of the settlor.
- They avoid the delays and cost of probate court.
- The specifics of the trust remain private rather than become a part of public record.
Implied trusts, on the other hand, are created by the court, and do not derive from the wishes of the settlor. These include the resulting trust, in which evidence is weighed to determine what the wishes of the decedent may have been. Another type is the constructive trust, which is developed with the intent of being fair to those who make claims to the estate, or who are logical beneficiaries.
If You Need Assistance with Creating an Express Trust
If you are interested in finding out more about trusts, it is important that you work with a knowledgeable and experienced Conroe estate planning attorney. Call Peterson Law Group to arrange an appointment today at 936-337-4681.