Trust Agreement

Jump to Section

Need help with a Trust Agreement?

Post Project Now

Post Your Project (It's Free)

Get Bids to Compare

 Hire Your Lawyer

What is a Trust Agreement?

A trust agreement is a legal document that allows the trustor to transfer the ownership of assets to the trustee to be held for the trustor's beneficiaries. Trust agreements are created for many reasons:

  • Allow your trustees to avoid probate
  • Wealth management
  • Tax advantages
  • Keep the document in public record for when the trustor passes

Understanding Trusts

A trust is a fiduciary relationship in which the trustor gives the trustee the right to hold title to assets or property for the benefit of a third party called the beneficiary. Trusts provide legal protection for the trustor’s assets or properties to ensure that they are distributed according to the trustor’s wishes.

Trusts also reduce paperwork and might avoid or reduce inheritance or estate tax issues. Trusts can also be a type of closed-end fund built as a public limited company in finance.

There are three main types of trusts:

  1. Living or testamentary : A living trust is a written document in which an individual's assets are provided as a trust for the individual's use and benefit during his lifetime. A testamentary trust defines how the assets will be used after the individual’s death.
  2. Revocable or irrevocable : A revocable trust can be changed or terminated by the trustor while the trustor is alive. An irrevocable trust cannot be changed or terminated once established. Living trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. However, testamentary trusts can only be irrevocable. Some might prefer an irrevocable trust because it is unalterable.
  3. Funded or unfunded : A funded trust has assets put in by the trustor while the trustor is alive. An unfunded trust, as the name suggests, has no funding. Unfunded trusts can be funded when the trustor dies or they can also be left unfunded.

Here is more on types of trusts .

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Anatalia S.

3 projects on CC
View Profile

Forest H.

48 projects on CC
View Profile

Bryan B.

38 projects on CC
View Profile

Samuel R.

4 projects on CC
View Profile

Purpose of a Trust Agreement

Trust agreements are often used to determine how a person’s money should be managed and distributed while that person is alive or after their death. Trusts are used to protect assets from creditors and can dictate the terms of an inheritance for beneficiaries. Trusts can provide for a beneficiary who is underage or has a mental disability that may impair his ability to manage finances. However, trust agreements can require time and money to create and they cannot be easily revoked.

Trust agreements are generally used for the following purposes:

  • Directing assets : For people with a high net worth or multiple assets, it might be really important that their assets and property end up in the right hands after their death. A trust legally solidifies ownership of their assets and properties or sets out ways in which they must be used upon the death of the owner or the trustor.
  • Safekeeping of assets: For high net worth individuals, it can be important to keep their assets and properties safe. Trusts can provide a legal entity to hold on to a property, which doesn’t have to be a family member. This way trustor’s can direct their assets or their use even after their death.
  • Managing wealth : Trusts and the rules set in a trust agreement can also help manage wealth for an individual or a family. Especially if the beneficiary or the dependent is underage or mentally impaired, a trust can help manage wealth without running into legal troubles.
  • Privacy : Often living wills can be public, depending on the jurisdictions. Trusts provide a more private avenue to direct assets and properties.
  • Estate Planning : Trusts can help in estate planning. Typically, assets of a deceased individual are passed on to their immediate family, However, trusts can control how much of an asset is passed on to which member.
  • Tax Planning : Trusts can also help in avoiding taxes and probate. When assets in a trust benefit from a set to step basis they can have tax savings but if they are all given away altogether they can carry the original cost basis.

You can read more on tax benefits of trusts here .

ContractsCounsel Trust Agreement Image

Image via Pexels by Matthias Zomer

How To Write a Trust Agreement

There are a few components of a trust agreement you can follow while writing a trust agreement:

  • Trustee and Trustor : Your trust agreement should define who the trustor or settlor or grantor is. Your trust agreement should also define the trustee or the trustee, or the person in charge of your trust.
  • Objective : The trust agreement should outline the objective of the agreement. If your agreement is to pass on all your assets or properties, or if it is to be used in a specific way, it should be clearly outlined in your agreement.
  • Kind of Trust : Since there are many types of trust, the trust agreement should define the kind of trust you will be establishing. Some common types of trusts are spendthrift trusts, charitable trusts, blind trust, special needs trusts, etc.
  • Property : After you place your property in a trust it is known as the trust property.
  • Beneficiary : Your trust should clearly define the beneficiary or beneficiaries–the person or people who will benefit from your trust.
  • Rules : If there are any rules to be followed while establishing your trust, using your assets or directing the assets, it must be stated in the trust agreement. Rules should also state the jurisdiction that will be followed when interpreting the agreement.
  • Signatures : Your trust agreement should be signed by you in presence of a public notary to avoid legal challenges later on.

You can seek legal services, consulting services or accounting services while creating your trust.

Who Owns Property in a Trust?

In a trust, the ownership of the property depends on the type of the trust agreement. Generally, the trustee is the legal owner of the property. The trustee is also known as the fiduciary and must follow fiduciary duties and obligation laid under the trust agreement. The trustee has the duty to manage the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries as agreed upon in the trust agreement. In an irrevocable trust, the property is solely owned by the trust.

Get Help with a Trust Agreement

Do you have any questions about a trust agreement and want to speak to an expert? Post a project today on ContractsCounsel and receive bids from estate planning lawyers who specialize in trust agreements.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Trust Agreement Lawyers

ContractsCounsel verified
Founder, Victrix Legal LLC
1 year practicing
Free Consultation

I help small business owners build and protect their dreams. I always thought that I would just be a litigator. Then I joined an intellectual property clinic in law school. We were helping nonprofits and small businesses reach their goals. I fell in love with the work and decided to open my own firm so I could keep helping them. When I decided to start Victrix Legal, I decided that it would be a modern law firm designed to serve professionals. It would be different from every other law firm. In my experience, my law firms are designed to promote inefficiency and reactionary lawyering. Because in most firms, you make more money when you spend more time on a project. And you lose money if your client doesn't get sued. In my opinion, that's a built-in conflict of interest. My firm is different. I use flat fees for most basic projects to keep costs predictable for you and incentivize efficiency. I offer long-term advisory plans and legal audits to prevent issues from happening. I want my clients to see me as their business partner, not just the guy they call when they are in trouble. If any of that interests you, please reach out to me. I offer free consultations. Let's set aside some time and talk about what your legal needs are.

ContractsCounsel verified
Attorney
8 years practicing
Free Consultation

My clients know me as more than just an attorney. First and foremost, my background is much broader than that. Prior to attending the Valparaiso University School of Law, I earned a Master of Business Administration and ran a small business as a certified public accountant. Thanks to this experience, I possess unique insight which in turn allows me to better assist my clients with a wide range of business and tax matters today. In total, I have over 20 years of experience in financial management, tax law, and business consulting, and I’m proud to say that I’m utilizing the knowledge I’ve gained to assist the community of Round Rock in a variety of ways. In my current practice, I provide counsel to small to medium-sized businesses, nonprofit organizations, and everyday individuals. Though my primary areas of practice are estate planning, elder law, business consulting, and tax planning, I pride myself on assisting my clients in a comprehensive manner. Whenever I take on a new client, I make an effort to get to know them on a personal level. This, of course, begins with listening. It is important that I fully understand their vision so I can help them successfully translate it into a concrete plan of action that meets their goals and expectations. I appreciate the individual attributes of each client and know firsthand that thoughtful, creative, and customized planning can maximize both financial security and personal happiness. During my time as a certified public accountant, I cultivated an invaluable skill set. After all, while my legal education has given me a deep understanding of tax law, I would not be the tax attorney I am today without my background in accounting. Due to my far-reaching experience, I am competent in unraveling even the most complex tax mysteries and disputes. My CPA training benefits my estate planning practice, too. In the process of drafting comprehensive wills and trusts, I carefully account for every asset and plan for any tax burdens that may arise, often facilitating a much smoother inheritance for the heirs of my clients. Prior to becoming certified as a CPA, I made sure to establish a solid foundation in business both in and out of the classroom, and the acumen I’ve attained has served me well. Not only am I better able to run my own practice than I otherwise would be; I am able to help other small business owners fulfill their dreams, as well.

ContractsCounsel verified
Associate
6 years practicing
Free Consultation

Hello! I am a young attorney with four years' experience in real estate transactions, fund formation, and general corporate transactional work. I graduated in 2016 from the University of Texas - Austin and I am barred in Texas.

ContractsCounsel verified
Partner Attorney
13 years practicing
Free Consultation

I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006 with a degree in Political Science, Finance, and Economics. I stayed around Champaign for law school and graduated in 2009. I then worked at a big law firm in downtown Chicago. It was boring, so I quit in early 2011. I thought that I could not be happy practicing law - I was wrong. After I quit the traditional law firm life, I began representing my own clients. I realize now that I love helping normal people, small business owners, and non-profits address a variety of legal issues. I hope to hear from you.

ContractsCounsel verified
Partner
6 years practicing
Free Consultation

I graduated from Harvard Law School and worked first for a federal judge and then a leading DC firm before starting a firm with a law school classmate. My practice focuses on company formations, early-stage investments, and mergers & acquisitions.

ContractsCounsel verified
Manager
24 years practicing
Free Consultation

Anna is an experienced attorney, with over twenty years of experience. With no geographical boundaries confining her practice, Anna works on corporate, healthcare and real estate transactions. Anna brings extensive big firm experience, garnered as an associate in the Miami office of the world's largest law firm, Baker and McKenzie, and the Miami office of the international law firm Kilpatrick Townsend. Her areas of expertise include: mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, private placements, healthcare transactions, corporate finance, commercial real estate transaction and acting as a general corporate counsel. Anna is certified to practice law in Florida and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1998. Anna is also a Certified Public Accountant. She passed May 1995 CPA Exam on the first sitting. She is fluent in Russian (native).

ContractsCounsel verified
Attorney
28 years practicing
Free Consultation

After 21 years as an in-house attorney for both large and small organizations, I formed Osensky Law in 2017 to bring my unique in-house counsel insights to entrepreneurs and smaller businesses. Unlike a traditional law firm, my focus is on delivering the kind of legal support a business wants and needs - not just technically correct legal advice, but strategic problem-solving with a focus on providing business value to clients. Since earning my law degree with honors from Tulane University Law School, I worked as in-house counsel for large multinational companies such as Georgia-Pacific and MCI, as well as smaller organizations including Georgia Technology Authority and Georgia Tech. This unique combination of experience allows me to bring together the best practices of all of them. I have led multi-disciplinary teams to achieve important business goals and have successfully negotiated many multi-million dollar deals. Now, as a business owner myself, I can relate to my clients and understand the challenges they face. I have an established reputation for providing practical advice and perspectives based on my legal training combined with over 20 years of practical hands-on experience as a business lawyer and leader. Today, with my firm Osensky Law, I advise clients on starting a new business, buying or selling a small business, and doing business with contracts.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call