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When a trust ends, what happens?

Many people turn to trusts in their estate plans because it gives them a lot of control over how they turn their assets over to their beneficiaries, while also allowing them to avoid probate on those assets. But a trust isn't forever. Eventually, it is applied and the beneficiaries receive what they are supposed to receive -- barring extreme circumstances.

So with that in mind, how does a trust end? And what happens when it ends?

A trust usually ends under legal and complete circumstances. After the grantor passes away, the trustee handles the property and assets of the grantor, and the assets are transferred to the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) under the terms dictated in the trust by the grantor. The grantor may set conditions or dates that must be met before the beneficiaries can receive the assets, but when the trust is implemented, it usually ends shortly thereafter.

If, once the trust ends, there is still property in the trust, then the trustee and the beneficiary will have to work out a way to deal with that. 

No matter the case, a trust will eventually end, but it can become litigious if you (as the grantor or beneficiary) fail to prepare for what is going on. If you are dealing with a trust in any capacity, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. If you are putting together an estate plan, make sure that you organize your plan and your trusts (if you choose to utilize one).

Source: FindLaw, "How Does a Trust End?," Accessed March 4, 2016

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