TRUST SETTLOR GIVES UP CONTROL
When a settlor creates a trust, he/she passes title of the property or asset to the trust or gives cash money to the trust, wherein the trustee invests the money as a fiduciary or manages the asset or asset in issue for the best interest of the trust beneficiary. It is true that in some circumstances the settlor, or the person who created the trust and most likely provided the seed capital, asset(s) or property for the trust, is or can be the trustee. The settlor is also known as the grantor, trustor or even donor; the terms can be used interchangeably. Often enough also, the settlor may not give up complete control of the money, asset(s) or property that he/she otherwise gives to the trust, for the trustee to manage, by, for example, providing for a life estate of the property in the settlor or his/her spouse.
There are a great many types of trusts that are permitted with a great variety of factual scenarios imaginable. For some special needs trusts, however, the trustee must receive assets, properties or monies from a third source, for the sole use by the beneficiary. Many rules apply for the funding and ongoing management of a special needs trust in order for the trust to maintain its privileged position, being excluded from the assets of the beneficiary for government benefits qualification. This blog has already discussed the various elements of special needs blogs, here, here and here. It is important to note that there are important restrictions on trusts, such as what the distribution of the funds can be used on as well the method and manner of initial funding and ongoing funding of the trust. The question should also be asked, how does a trustee wrap up the affairs of a special needs trust? What if the beneficiary uses up all of the funds? Is legally unable to recieve the funds? For any number of reasons. What if the beneficiary passes away and there are still funds in the trust? What then?