Terms and Definitions

Agency

An agency agreement is a simple legal document in which the principal (owner) retains control and ownership of the property and hires us for specific duties that are set forth in the document.  This usually includes receiving income and paying expenses, providing an accounting and completing a personal tax return.  This is a more informal arrangement where the agent may be removed at any time, for any reason, by the principal.

Beneficiary

A beneficiary is an individual, institution, or organization that will receive the benefits of the trust.

Probate

A probate is the judicial determination of the validity of a will.  The court vests power in a personal representative to gather and safeguard all the assets, create an inventory, pay taxing authorities, and distribute assets in accordance with the will.  The court gives final approval for all activities of the personal representative.

Remaindermen

A remainderman is an individual, institution or organization that the trust will be distributed to upon termination.

Trust Agreement

This is the formal contract which controls the trust property, and is usually between the trustor and the trustee, for the benefit of the beneficiary.  We manage trusts that have trust agreements already written, or we will provide assistance, in conjunction with an outside attorney, in drafting a new trust agreement.

Trust Property

Any asset that is "real" or "personal" property held within the trust.  This is property belonging to the trustor, which is transferred or "gifted" to the trustee.  This could include things like farm land, gold and silver, private residences, apartment buildings, or vehicles.

Trustor (also known as a Settlor or Grantor)

This is usually the original owner of the property.  It may sometimes be a court, guardian, or attorney-in-fact under a Power of Attorney.  The trustor, with the advice of an attorney, creates the rules and payout provisions that are set forth in the trust document.  These rules guide the trustee.

Trustee

A trustee is an individual, institution or organization that holds the legal title to the trust property and is responsible to manage and administer the assets of the trust.  A trustee may be appointed by the court, or by the trustor.  It is also possible for two trustees to share duties as co-trustees.  Frequently, we are named as an alternate trustee and act as a backup should the original trustee be unable to continue serving.