What Is a Trust?

A trust is a legal relationship in which the owner of property gives it to someone else to manage and use for his or her benefit. A trust is often a key part of an estate plan, especially for people with considerable wealth or real estate. It can also be used to protect privacy, avoid probate, provide tax advantages and help beneficiaries manage assets while they are still alive. A trust can hold a wide range of assets, including cash, real estate, stocks and bonds, artwork, classic cars and family heirlooms.

Several types of trusts exist, and the one that’s right for you depends on your situation, your goals and the assets you want to move into it. For example, a trust can be set up to pay for college tuition for children or to save land from development for wildlife. Some trusts are revocable, meaning that you can change or amend them during your lifetime, while others are irrevocable and only become effective after your death.

People make many different assumptions about whether or not a person is trustworthy, and these predictions can be based on behavior and verbal expressions. But while those observations are important, they are not the same as trust. Trust is an internal mental state, and it can involve estimations of probabilities of betrayal and a feeling about the other person that goes beyond just an expectation or a prediction.

The most basic test of a person’s trustworthiness is whether or not they keep their promises and commitments. If someone regularly reneges on their promises, this is a sign that they are not to be trusted. Trustworthy people will follow through with what they say and will not change their behavior depending on the circumstances.

In addition to keeping their promises, a trustworthy person will also be open and transparent with their actions. If they are unwilling to explain their motives and rationale for doing something, this is another clear indication that they are not someone you can trust.

An untrustworthy person will be quick to blame you for their mistakes and may play the victim or martyr mode. They will expect you to console them after they have hurt you and to help them forget what they have done. This is a clear sign that they do not deserve your trust and you should not give it to them.

If you are considering a trust as part of your estate plan, it is best to get professional advice from an estate planning attorney or financial advisor. They will be able to guide you through the process and help you determine if a trust is an appropriate option for your situation. They can help you determine the type of trust, which assets to move into it and the beneficiaries that will be receiving benefits from it. This is an area in which it is important not to cut corners, as a mistake could cost your loved ones a lot of money.