Thomas F. Miles, Attorney and Counselor at Law
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What is a testamentary trust?

Drafting an estate plan has become an important step for individuals in California and elsewhere to take. While it is also a process that many seek to avoid until later in life, it has been proven to be an essential and necessary step to take as soon as possible. While that means taking the time to think about your death and what will happen following your death, failing to take the time to address this uncomfortable topic could prove to be problematic and harmful when it comes to your heirs and beneficiaries dealing with your estate after your passing.

One important estate-planning document to consider is a trust. These can come in a variety of forms, serving various purposes. Thus, those considering this document should understand how they could best supplement your estate plan and serve your best interests.

Take for example a testamentary trust. This trust is a type of express trust and is either written into a will or is a separate document that is incorporated into a will by referring to it in the will document. A testamentary trust is used to protect assets, specifically from the immaturity of minor beneficiaries and other family members. In order for this type of trust to be effective, a trustee must be designated and the trust must be referred to in the individual's final version of their will. If all necessary terms are cited, then the trust will be developed upon the settlor's death.

Drafting an estate plan can be a complex process. Many documents could be involved and various actions for protection could be taken. Thus, it is not only important to understand what an estate plan could contain but also note how to properly and effectively complete the necessary documents.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Placing a Testamentary Trust in a Will," accessed Oct. 1, 2017

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