A trust is a means of transferring property—whether it is tangible or intangible— or funds from one party to another. It is a legal tool that allows transition of ownership through a third party, who manages the estate until such time that the original owner wishes to pass on the property to another in accordance with the terms stipulated by the former. Whatever is placed under a trust—money, property, and other tangible or intangible goods—are referred to as trust assets.
A trust is created by a party called a trustor, donor, grantor, or settlor, and is managed by a party, called the trustee or fiduciary. The trustees have a duty to manage the trust for the beneficiaries, the recipients of the estate. Such fiduciaries are obligated to manage the trust assets in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
Many types of trust exist depending on the terms and conditions stipulated by the trustor or grantor. Some trusts may have conditions or terms that are open to change by the grantor and some trusts are irrevocable in that once they are signed and formalized, they can no longer be changed. Thus, trust assets can only be accessed once such terms and conditions have been fulfilled.
People make use of a trust in order to legally transfer assets to an individual. This individual may not necessarily be an adult, in which case the trust cannot be executed. Some states require that an individual reach the age of majority before receiving the benefits of a trust.