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  • A trust that comes into existence after your death (as opposed to a revocable living trust) and is commonly created under your will or under your revocable living trust. Its term is generally for as long as that document stipulates, within certain limits (e.g., for a spouse's lifetime or for a certain number of years). For example, a couple with minor or young adult children may list each other as the primary beneficiary under each of their wills and their children as the contingent beneficiaries, but then also specify that a trust should be created for the children's benefit in the event both parents are deceased. The terms could then specify how money is to be used for them and at what ages and/or upon what events a child is to inherit any assets directly.

    Trusts can be valuable estate planning tools to provide privacy and increased control over assets. A trust may also be useful for a complicated family situation or allow for a tax-saving strategy. For your situation, you may want to consider if a trust is appropriate and whether one or more of the following trusts would complement your overall estate plan.

    Types of Trusts

    A trust may be set up during your lifetime, called a living trust, or upon your death, called a testamentary trust. It can also be revocable, meaning that it can be altered, added to, taken from, or dissolved during your lifetime; or it can be irrevocable, meaning that the terms and beneficiaries cannot be changed.

    As an example of a testamentary trust, a couple with minor or young adult children may list each other as the primary beneficiary under each of their wills and list their children as the contingent beneficiaries, but then also specify that a trust should be created for the children’s benefit in the event both parents are deceased. The terms could then specify how money is to be used for them and at what ages and/or upon what events a child is to inherit any assets directly.

    The following are types of trusts that may accomplish some of your other more specific estate planning goals: