That was the question the Knights (yes, those in shining armor) made themselves before they left their castle, family, etc in order to go to the Crusades. At that time, they didn’t know if they were coming back, or when they will be back as each trip lasted years.
So they came up with the concept of “Trust”
A trust is a legal agreement by which the owner of the assets (legally known as the DONOR, or, SETTLER), donates all his belongings (the castle, the land, etc) to the TRUST. He is no longer owner of these assets, even though he could still make use of them. Why did they do this? Because they wanted to be sure that someone was going to take care of the assets while they were in battle. This someone, is the TRUSTEE, the person in charge of the trust. The Trustee will handle the assets according to the wishes of the Knight (the donor) until his return from battle. And if he was not lucky enough to return, the TRUSTEE was in charge of distributing the TRUST assets (the ones the Knight donated to the trust) among the beneficiaries. The BENEFICIARIES is the third actor of the agreement. Are the people who will receive the assets of the Knight if he doesn’t come back from war.
This concept is still very much in vogue today and actually most people use it, not only for protection, but also as a estate planning strategy. When you create a trust (or living trust because you are still alive), you give all your assets to the trust. They are no longer under your name. So this implies a great level of protection. For example if you have personal problems, the assets under the trust cannot be touched as they are not yours anymore legally.
Also the trust is a estate planning tool. When you establish a trust you decide who your beneficiaries will be and what are they going to receive. So, if you don’t return from war, your beneficiaries won’t have to go to “probate” -that is the process when a judge decides on your assets after your death-. You can be sure that all your belongings will go to the people you want them to go. They are funny stories as the one of an old lady leaving money to her cat. Well, this is perfectly possible!. If she names the cat as a beneficiary she can leave money to the cat.
And finally the trust is also a tax tool. As the assets are no longer yours but the trust’s; the trust will file its own tax returns. The assets under a trust don’t pay the estate tax when you go to Heaven. We will talk more about this in another post about Taxes.
Hopefully this video will give you a basic idea of what a trust is. There are several types of trust, each individual and each family is different and there is an option for everybody. Revocable Trust, Irrevocable Trust, The best way to know if a trust is good for you is to consult an attorney.
This link will give you more information https://www.fidelity.com/estate-planning-inheritance/estate-planning/trusts . But once again consult with your your attorney.
Good luck my dear Knights.
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