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Helpful Information

Glossary of Trust Terms

The following list of terms and their definitions are taken from the 1979 edition of Black’s Law Dictionary.

A foreign born person who has not qualified as a citizen of the country; but an alien is a person within the meaning of the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution to the same extent as a citizen.

To change or modify for the better. To alter by modification, deletion, or addition.

An addition which alters the original terms of a trust, the power to accomplish which may be reserved by the settlor in the original trust instrument.

A trust amendment may be made during the lifetime of the Creator of the Trust, except that the trust may not be altered during periods of incapacitation. Trust amendments should always be in writing, signed by the Creator of the Trust, and where the amendment affects the beneficial interests of any of the Trust’s beneficiary’s then the amendment should also be notarized.

A person who has any present or future interest, in a trust, either vested or contingent.

Normally the original creators of a Trust are the first beneficiaries of a revocable trust. When the trust is drafted, the Creators will designate primary beneficiaries who will receive benefits of the Trust at some future date, and secondary or contingent beneficiaries who will receive remainder interests if a primary beneficiary predeceases.

Progeny; offspring of parentage. An unborn or recently born human being. The term may include or apply to: adopted, after-born, or illegitimate children; step-children; or children by a second or former marriage; issue.

Property owned in common by husband and wife each having an undivided one-half interest by reason of their marital status.

Community property is also generally defined as ‘all earnings by either spouse after marriage.’ Community property is owned half by the husband and half by the wife.

The term, Creator refers to the individual; who creates the Trust. The Creator is also known as the ‘Testator’ or ‘Settlor.’

A deceased person, especially one who has lately died.

Those persons who are in the blood stream of the ancestor. The term means those descended from another, persons who proceed from a body of another such as a child or grandchild, to the remotest degree.

A person appointed by a testator to carry out the directions and requests in his will, and to dispose of the property according to his testamentary provisions after his decease.

The individual appointed to administer a trustee, as compared to the individual who is appointed to administer a will who is referred to as an executor.

A person having a duty, created by his undertaking, to act primarily for another’s benefit in matters connected with such undertaking.

One who legally has the care and management of the person, or the estate, or both, of a child during its minority.

A person who succeeds, by the rules of law, to an estate in lands, tenements, or hereditaments, upon the death of his ancestor, by descent and right of relationship.

A married man; one who has a lawful wife living.

The quality or state of being incapable, want of capacity, lack of physical or intellectual power, or of natural or legal qualification; inability incapability, disability, incompetence.

Incapacity is a state where an individual is unable to rationally, prudently, or effectively look after his or her own interests.

The gain derived from capital, from labor or effort, or both combined, including profit or gain through sale or conversion of capital.

The party entitled to income from property.

A typical example would be a trust where A is to receive the income fro life corpus or principal passing to B upon A’s death. In this case, A would be the income beneficiary.

Usually the initial trustee is the original Creator of the Trust, and as such will have the authority to control and administer all true assets.

All persons who have descended from a common ancestor. Offspring; progeny; descent; lineage; lineal descendants. In this sense, the word includes not only a child or children, but all other descendants in whatever degree, and it is so construed generally in deeds. But when used in wills, it is, of course, subject to the rule of construction that the intention of the testator, as ascertained from the language used by him; and hence issue may, in such a connection, be restricted to children, or to descendants living at the death of the testator, where such an intention clearly appears.

A trust created by an instrument which becomes operative during the settlor’s lifetime as contrasted with a testamentary trust which takes effect on the death of the settlor, after passing through probate.

A trust which may not be revoked after its creation as in the case of a deposit of money by one in the name of another as trustee for the benefit of a third person (beneficiary).

A living will is a short document that basically states: “If the situation should arise in which there is not a reasonable expectation of my recovery from physical or mental disability, I request that I be allowed to die and not be kept alive by artificial means or heroic measures.”

A passive investment is one where the trustee has no ongoing management responsibilities. Passive investments include bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and limited partnerships.

By roots or stocks; by representation. This term, derived from the civil law, is much used in the law of descents and distribution, and denotes that method of dividing an intestate estate where a class or group of distributees take the share which their deceased would have been entitled to, taking thus by their right of representing such ancestor, and not as so many individuals. It is the antithesis of per capita.

Generally, all property other than real estate. In a broad and general sense, everything that is the subject of ownership, not coming under denomination or real estate, such as cash, automobiles, stocks, household furnishing, and clothing, etc.

A provision in a will which directs the distribution of property into a trust.

The Pour-over Will is also used for the nomination of guardians for any minor children.

Property as opposed to income. The term is often used to designate the corpus of assets of a trust. If, for example, G places real estate in trust with income payable to A for life and the remainder to B upon A’s death, the real estate is the principal or corpus of the trust.

The principle upon which the issue of a deceased person take or inherit the share of an estate which their immediate ancestor would have taken or inherited, if living; the taking or inheriting per stirpes.

Property acquired while living outside the State of California while married, which would have been Community Property if it had been purchased while the couple was living in California.

Land, and generally whatever is erected or growing upon or affixed to land. Also rights of issuing out of, annexed to, and exercisable within or about land.

One who is entitled to the remainder of the estate after a particular estate carved out of it has expired.

Susceptible of being revoked, withdrawn or cancelled.

The entire Revocable Trust can be revoked or cancelled or even amended, as can individual portions of the trust.

A trust that allows the grantor to revoke and reclaim any property placed in it.

Principle that no interest in property is good unless it must vest, if at all, not later than 21 years, plus period of gestation, after some life or lives in being at the time of the creation of the interest.

This rule essentially limits the length of time during which the Creator of the Trust can control his other property.

Property owned by a married person in his or her own right during marriage.

Generally any property which one owns before marriage is separate property after. The rents and income from such separate property also remains separate property.

One who creates a trust.

One which provides a fund for benefit of another than settlor, seures it against beneficiary’s own improvidence, and places it beyond his creditors’ reach. A trust set p to protect a beneficiary from spending all of the money that he is entitled to.

Upon the death or incapacity of the original trustee of a trust, new trustees, which are designated in the trust, will begin to administer the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. These new trustees are called ‘subsequent trustees’.

When a husband and a wife create a trust together after the death of the first spouse, the surviving spouse is known and identified as the ‘surviving creator’.

One who makes or has made a testament or a will.

A woman who makes a will or a testament.

A right of property, real or personal, held by one party for the benfit of another. Any arrangement whereby property is transferred with the intention that it be administered by the trustee for another’s benefit.

The person holding property in trust. The person appointed, or required by law, to execute a trust; one in whom an estate, interest, or power is vested, under an express or implied agreement to administer or exercise it for the benefit or to the use of another called the cestui que trust (the beneficiary).

One who creates a trust. Also called a Settlor, Creator, Grantor and Tesator.

A woman united to a man in marriage.

The legal expression or declaration of a person’s mind or wishes as to the disposition of hi property, to be performed or take effect after his death. Most valid wills are either statutory witnessed wills or handwritten holographic wills.

With a Pour-over Will, the primary beneficiary of the will is the testator’s trust.

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