When a person dies, the first thing that must be done concerning distribution of his property is to determine whether he left a will. In most cases, the spouse or children will know or have an idea that there was or was not a will. If not, a search of the deceased’s papers and safe-deposit box may offer some leads. If the deceased had a lawyer or saw one before his death, the lawyer should be asked if he has any knowledge of a will.
Most of the formalities of a will come at the beginning of the will and at the end of the will. The initial clauses usually announce the intention of the testator to make a will. The closing clauses usually indicate that the will has been signed and witnessed as required. In between the initial clauses and the closing clauses is the body of a will. The body of the will is where the testator directs the disposition of his or her estate.
A trust has five main elements. First, a settlor transfers some or all of his or her property. Second, the property transferred by the settlor is designated trust property. Third, the trust property designated by the settlor is transferred with the settlor’s intent that it be managed by another. Fourth, the trust property designated by the settlor is transferred for management by a trustee. Fifth, the trust property designated by the settlor is managed by a trustee for the benefit of a beneficiary.
A court will modify a trust where the trust’s leading purpose is frustrated by a specific directive made by the trustor.
An express trust is either public or private. A public trust, also known as a charitable trust, is an express trust created for a charitable purpose. If an express trust is not a charitable trust, it is deemed to be a private trust. A private trust is an express trust created to benefit a few persons. This article discusses some aspects of public and private trusts.