Common Trust Terms

Administrator: A party named by a Court of law, equity or probate who is responsible for settling the estate of a person who died without a valid Will.


Beneficiary: A party who receives proceeds from a trust, insurance policy, etc.


Custodian: An individual, bank, or other entity, designated by a court to manage the property of a minor or incapacitated person.


Custody: A banking service that provides safekeeping for a customer's securities under written agreement and also provides for the bank to collect and pay out income and to buy, sell, receive, and deliver securities when ordered to do so by the customer.


Decedent: A person who has died.


Escrow: The holding of money, documents, securities and/or other property by a third-party as a party of a transaction. When the transaction is complete, the escrow agent releases the property as directed by the escrow agreement.


Fiduciary: An individual or trust institution charged with the duty of acting for the benefit of another party on matters within the relationship between them.


Grantor: The creator of a trust.


Guardian: An individual or party named by a court to manage the personal needs and/or estate of a minor or incapacitated person, under typically strict guidelines.


Individual Retirement Account (IRA): A tax-deferred retirement plan that may be established through trust or custodial accounts at banks and which under certain circumstances may be tax-deductible. The amount of funds deposited in an IRA are subject to annual limitations and generally cannot be withdrawn without financial penalties until the individual is 59 ½ years of age.


Intestate: A decedent who left no valid will.


Irrevocable Trust: A trust whose terms generally cannot be revoked or amended.


Keogh Plan: A tax-deductible and tax-deferred retirement plan for self-employed persons. The Maximum annual contribution to this plan is $30,000 or 15% of an individual's earned income.


Living Trust: A trust that is revocable during the Grantor's lifetime and becomes irrevocable at the Grantor's death, typically established for the purposes of probate avoidance, reducing taxes, and documenting the Grantor's wishes for his or her lifetime provision as well as the distribution of the assets of the trust to the named beneficiaries at some later date after the death of the Grantor. Living Trusts should not be confused with Living Wills, which are medical directives to a hospital or attending physician regarding the maker's desire for the use or withholding of certain life-sustaining medical treatments or efforts.


Personal Representative: A party who is responsible for settling the estate. Personal Representatives must be approved by the court having jurisdiction of the decedent's probate estate before the PR can act. A personal representative is sometimes referred to as an Executor.


Power of Attorney: A legal document granting authority for one party to act in behalf of the granting party, under the terms and conditions contained in the POA. A durable power of attorney (if valid in its execution according to state law), will continue to be operational upon the incompetency of the maker. However, all powers of attorney terminate upon the death of the maker.


Probate: A court proceeding to settle the estate of a decedent, whether having died with or without a will.


Revocable Trust: A trust that can be amended or canceled by the Grantor, also often known as a Living Trust.


Testate: A person who died leaving a valid Will.


Trust: An agreement (typically in writing) in which a person or entity as Trustee holds title to and manages property for the benefit of one or more persons or entities known as beneficiaries, under the terms and directions contained in the trust agreement.


Trust Company: A corporation chartered by the state or federal government to engage in the trust business, serving both individuals and business organizations.


Will: A legal document, in writing, stating an individual's desires as to how his or her estate (property and debts) should be disposed of after death.


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Trust investments are not insured by the FDIC. Trust investments are not deposits or obligations of the institution and are not guaranteed by the institution. Trust investments are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.

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