Trusts are often misunderstood and can take several different forms, depending on the context. At the same time, trusts can play an important role in your estate, tax, and financial plan and provide a number of tax and non-tax benefits to you and your family. When you combine the fact that you may not know exactly what a trust is with the deeply personal decisions that need to be made as part of planning for and setting up trusts (like planning for your own demise), many shy away from further exploration and discussion on how trusts may fit into their overall strategy. If this is you, trust me, you aren’t alone. FORVIS Private Client™ understands and is here to help you better navigate this sometimes daunting, yet important tool that can help you achieve your goals and aspirations. Let's start with a few primary questions.

What Is a Trust?

In its most basic form, a trust is a relationship in which one person (the trustee) holds legal title to property subject to an obligation to keep or use the property for the benefit of another (the trust beneficiary). The trustee has a duty to administer the trust in the best interests of the beneficiary guided by the dictates of the trust provisions contained in the trust agreement and under relevant state law. 

What Are the Different Categories of Trusts?

There are two basic types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable trust is one that can be modified or even (as the name suggests) revoked in part or in full at the discretion of a competent, living grantor. In contrast, with an irrevocable trust, the grantor does not reserve the right to revoke or cancel the trust. 

How Many Types of Trusts Are There?

The long list of four-letter acronyms and terms of art used to describe the various types of trusts can make it feel overwhelming to discuss, narrow down, and select the type of trust that best fits your personal situation. Whether your primary motivation is creditor protection, removing life insurance from your taxable estate, incentivizing beneficiaries, implementing sophisticated estate planning techniques, or more, gaining a basic understanding of what most common types of trusts can and cannot accomplish is an essential initial step. 

With this introductory article, our team of FORVIS Private Client professionals is launching a series of articles exploring the most common types of trusts. The series will conclude this fall with a webinar focused on practical considerations and steps you should consider as part of your overall estate and financial plan. Be sure to bookmark this page; links will be added below as each article is published in the coming weeks. 

Working with a team of professionals who understand both your complex financial challenges and your goals for your financial security, estate planning, and philanthropic endeavors is critical to identifying and implementing the right assistance for you that is tailored to your unique situation. For more information on how FORVIS Private Client can help, reach out to a professional at FORVIS or submit the Contact Us form below.

Services may include investment advisory services provided by FORVIS Wealth Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser, and/or accounting, tax, and related solutions provided by FORVIS, LLP.

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