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A trust is an agreement between one or more people to hold assets for the benefit of another person or entity. Title to the trust assets is held by the "trustee" who has the legal duty to administer and distribute the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiary. Trusts are usually established in writing and are signed by the "trustor" who is the person who creates the trust.

Most trusts are private agreements between the trustor and trustee, and courts are usually not involved in those agreements. Only some trusts are supervised by the court, meaning the court approves the selection of the trustee and approves the accounts of the trustee. The trustee itemizes receipts and disbursements (see a sample Trustee's Accounting Form, Rule 417.02).

There are many kinds of trusts. The most common ones include:

  • Discretionary Trust: a trust that grants a larger amount of discretion to the trustee to distribute the trust income or principal to the beneficiary.
  • Inter Vivos Trust: a trust that is created by a transfer during the trustor's (creators') lifetime. This is most commonly referred to as a living trust.
  • Irrevocable Trust: a trust that cannot be revoked or amended.
  • Revocable Trust: a trust that can be revoked or amended.
  • Supplemental Needs Trust: a trust established for the benefit of a disabled person to supplement the government benefits received by the beneficiary.
  • Testamentary Trust: a trust created pursuant to the terms of a will and takes effect at the time of the trustor's death.

Laws & Rules

The following is a list of some of the laws and rules that relate to trusts. NOTE: This website is not a substitute for legal advice. Talk with a lawyer if you need advice or want to know how the laws and rules apply to your situation. Read What Court Staff Can & Cannot Do.


The following is a list of some legal resources. We encourage you to talk with a lawyer to get advice on how the laws and rules may affect your case.


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