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Investments & Saving - Investment Trusts

Many people set up trusts in order to manage their assets while they're living, and to transfer those assets at the time of their death. Trusts allow you to transfer ownership of property or money to a person who is designated to manage and distribute the assets according to your instructions, for the benefit of another.
Some trusts may provide significant tax advantages, while others are for the benefit of persons unable to handle their affairs. Other trusts provide income for a spouse or a child or a beneficiary who is not included among your heirs.

The person who establishes the trust is called the “grantor.” The person who manages the trust is known as the “trustee,” and the people who eventually receive money or other assets from a trust are called “beneficiaries.”

Trusts also are necessary if you have minor children. You can specify in your will that any money left to children who are under a certain age, be placed in a trust for their benefit until they reach the age stated. You appoint a trustee, who will see that the money is properly invested and available for the child when  needed. When the child reaches the age stated in the document, the trust is dissolved and the child receives the remaining assets. In most cases, income tax on the money earned by the trust is taken out of the trust until the child reaches the age stated in the document. At that time, the child usually has to pay income tax.

There are many varieties of trusts, but all fall under two basic types: revocable and irrevocable. Revocable means changeable, irrevocable means it's beyond your control once set up—it's not changeable. Within each category are various types of trusts.

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