A trust can own property and assets, but it’s not a person, so it seems like it could live on forever — guarding your assets for eternity or for so long as they remain. However, just like everything else, trusts must eventually come to an end too.
The most typical way for a trust to end is when the property within it is exhausted. Perhaps the trust was full of stocks or other investments and the value of these investments declines to zero. The trust might not have any further assets left to support itself and its beneficiaries. Or, maybe the trust assets are completely paid out to the beneficiaries at a certain point and nothing remains of the money or property.
The trust may also have a specific termination date that was pinpointed by the creator of the trust. This “end date” might happen when a specific condition has been met. For instance, a trust might divvy out all of its assets when the beneficiary reaches a specified age such as 18, 25 or 30 — or when the beneficiary graduates from college.
Hopefully, in the event that the trust ends, the creator of the trust has left instructions for how the property within this estate planning vehicle shall be divvied up and distributed. If there aren’t any instructions, the beneficiaries may need to come to some kind of agreement regarding the asset distribution — or have a court decide when no agreement can be made.
If you’re the beneficiary of a trust that is ending, and you’re unsure of your legal rights, our law office can meet with you to talk about your best next steps.