A trust is a legal document where a grantor transfers property into the care of a trustee, to be managed for the benefit of a designated beneficiary. It is set up during life or upon death to provide assets for beneficiaries. The trustee oversees the trust property, also called the trust corpus, and distributes interest and dividends to the beneficiaries for a specified period. The beneficiary receives income from the corpus but does not own the assets themselves. Trusts are structured to provide benefits over time per the grantor's wishes.
Probate is the court-supervised legal process for administering and validating the will of a deceased person. It involves proving the authenticity of the will, legally distributing assets from the estate, settling any outstanding debts, and allocating the remaining property to the proper beneficiaries. Probate provides judicial oversight to carry out a will's directives or, if no will exists, to appropriately disburse the estate according to state law. It provides a formal validation and execution process for the disposition of assets for both testate (with a will) and intestate (without a will) estates.
A conservatorship is a court-supervised arrangement in which a person or entity is appointed to manage the finances and/or personal care of an adult who cannot handle those responsibilities themselves due to physical or mental limitations. The conservator is legally designated to make decisions in the best interest of the conserved adult. Conservatorships provide a monitored protective process when an individual becomes incapacitated.
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