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Introduction to 10 Reasons to Start a Trust

There are actually many benefits to creating a trust, even if you're not a multimillionaire.

©iStockphoto.com/Edward Bock

While trust funds, or trusts, may seem the province of the wealthy, there are actually many benefits to creating them, even if you're not a multimillionaire. Trusts can help you manage your property and assets, make sure they are distributed after your death according to your wishes, and save your family money, time and paperwork.

Simply put, a trust is legal document established by an individual or corporation known as a grantor. The trust holds property or assets for a specific person or group, called the beneficiary. Control of the trust is maintained by a trustee -- in some cases the grantor is the trustee, and in others the grantor names a trusted family member, friend or professional.

There are many reasons to set up a trust, including avoiding probate, providing for your family after your death, and stating exactly how, and when, your descendants receive their inheritance. But not everyone should establish a trust -- for some, a standard will is a better choice. Although do-it-yourself kits are available, the applicable laws are complicated, and anyone considering a trust should consult a lawyer. But before calling your attorney, read on to learn a bit more about the advantages of a trust.

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