Trusts are one of the most essential estate planning tools in use today, and there are many kinds of trusts to choose from when considering your options. However, no matter what type of trust you use, they all must come to an end one way or another.
If you've done much research into estate planning, you know that there are a wide variety of trusts that offer different advantages and restrictions, but you may not have a clear picture of how a trust ends. Of course, all trusts do end. The important part when creating a trust and considering when it will terminate is making sure to plan for the ending just as one plans other aspects, like creation and payout of assets.
If you are considering creating a trust, or have concerns about an existing trust that involves you, it is wise to examine your own circumstances very carefully through the eyes of the law. A detailed understanding of your own rights and the tools you have to protect them goes a long way when building your estate plan. You definitely want to ensure that your interests and wishes receive the respect they deserve.
Termination by depletion
A trust generally does not continue to exist once it contains no more assets. If you place a generous sum of money in a trust and craft the terms so that the trust pays out yearly stipends to a specific person, once the assets and the accrued interest are all paid out, the trust will terminate.
In some cases, however, matters are a little more complicated. You may, for instance, place a home in a trust, which is not an asset that depletes the same way that liquid assets might. In this case, the trust may exist until the home gets sold to another party or the home is physically destroyed. These issues are always best to sort out before establishing the trust rather than trying to settle them after. This is especially true when it comes to assets that are difficult to divide among multiple beneficiaries.
Termination by condition
In some case, the creator of a trust may plan for the trust to end at a specific time or once certain conditions are met. For instance, the creator of a trust may plan for the trust to last until a beneficiary reaches their 18th birthday, at which point the beneficiary may receive the content of the trust, thus dissolving it.
Similarly, the creator may intend for a trust to hold property until all three of their children marry and begin their own families. While this may not have a specific end date, once the final child meets the qualifications set forth for the trust, the trust may dissolve.
Before you move forward creating your own trust or addressing concerns about a trust that involves you, make sure that you have a strong grasp on your own legal rights and priorities, and the legal tools that you have to protect yourself. Estate planning matters can get surprisingly complicated, especially when parties disagree about how to distribute or consolidate an estate. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can protect your rights and priorities and achieve your estate planning goals.