The following is an explanation of the different roles of the people who are involved in your Living Trust.
This is the person who sets up the trust. This would be you. The grantor has many names such as the creator, settlor or grantor. As the grantor, you have full control to manage or change the trust at any time.
The trustee is the person who will manage the assets in the trust. Again, this will most likely be you while you are alive. When a trust is created, the trustees are usually the same individuals as the grantor. For married couples, usually the husband and the wife both act as co-trustees.
(c) Successor Trustee
This is the person who will manage your assets for you when you die or if you should become incapacitated. This person will have the right to manage your affairs without the need for any probate. The successor trustee will immediately have the same powers that you as trustee had to buy, sell, borrow or transfer the assets inside the trust. More importantly, the successor trustee has the right to distribute the trust’s assets according to your instructions in the trust.
This immediate control can allow your estate to be transferred to your children or loved ones immediately avoiding the probate burden. The successor trustee, however, does not have the legal right to change your trust. The trust becomes irrevocable or unchangeable after the death of the Trustor(s). However, the successor trustee does have the right to manage the assets in the estate, but must do so for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
The people who will receive the benefit of the trust’s assets are called the beneficiaries. Typically, the estate will go to the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, assets will pass to the people you named in your trust. You can name your children, relatives, friends or a charitable organization to be your beneficiary.