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Listen with Us! Into to Trusts Basics

We are proud to present this month’s webinar “Introduction to Trusts”. Independent Trust’s Fran DeMaris will walk attendees through the ins and outs of trust terminology and help provide a better understanding of the purpose of having a trust account, and how it can benefit the family of the person who created it. 

Being familiar with trust terminology is a good starting point for understanding trusts and knowing which direction to move with clients. Benefits of Trusts include helping individuals to avoid the probate process after death, tax benefits, provide specific parameters for the use of your assets, and can help during illness or disability. For those who still want to be able to amend their trust if an issue or concern arises, Revocable Trusts allow the grantor the freedom and flexibility to access tax benefits. And from a relationship standpoint, trusts can help eliminate family feuding by providing guidance and direction for the distribution of wealth and assets.

While the points referenced above will be explained in detail during the webinar, below is an index of common trust terms and their definitions to get you started:

Roles in a Trust

Grantor: Any term ending in “or” is the owner of the trust – for example, this may also be referred to as the “trustor” or “settlor”. This person creates the trust and has the legal authority to transfer property into the trust. 

Trustee: The individual or organization who administers property or assets for the benefit of the trust. The trustee manages the property and trust without taking ownership of it directly. The trustee has the fiduciary responsibility to operate in the best interest of the grantor and trust beneficiaries. They are bound by the trust document that is created by the Grantor and must oversee the mandates it outlines. 

Beneficiary: This is the party that benefits from the trust. Trusts may have more than one beneficiary – often several. Each beneficiary can be entitled to a different amount of trust assets. 


In the webinar Fran states that there may be several “flavors” of trust beneficiaries – some may only be beneficiaries for a scheduled amount of years, and some beneficiaries may be entitled to receive a dividend once they reach a certain age, or in yearly increments. 

Property: Any asset held in the trust. This may include cash, securities, jewelry, automobiles, and real estate, but is not exclusive to only real estate. 

Revocable Trust: This type of trust can be changed or altered as many times as the Grantor would like during their life. 

Irrevocable Trust: This type of trust can never be altered, amended, or changed in any way, including revoked. 

Testamentary Trust: Sometimes called a “trust under will”. This kind of trust is created after a grantor dies using their will. This type of trust can be KEY in estate planning – it allows the grantor to outline their needs and ensure every family member is taken care of prior to their passing.

Listen to the full webinar here: