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Subject:  Re: taxes and trusts Date:  3/28/2014  9:40 PM
Author:  Wradical Number:  120622 of 123001

The second bolded section has me wondering what is meant by "but for the fact that there is no corpus"?
That goes back to very old theories of what a trust actually is.

If I remember my Business Law classes right, the definition of a trust is something like "an arrangement where one party (the "trustee") holds title or possession to property for the benefit of another party" (the "beneficiary".) The other party to the arrangement, of course is the "grantor" (or "settlor")

But the essence of the trust is that the trust has property, or assets. The property placed in the trust is called the "corpus" of the trust. Without it, there is no trust - under this old theory. "Corpus" is sort of an older word, being Latin. The modern terminology is usually trust "principal" instead.

Now many trusts are established under a signed agreement, and then lie dormant until future events occur - usually, somebody dies. This then leads to the question: does the trust exist, without being funded -i.e., without assets?

This is not usually a problem unless state law requires that a trust actually has to be in existence before a probate case begins, or the decedent's estate may be in probate when that was not the intent. And to avoid probate, or to get probate concluded, you don't want a trust created under the actual will. Because then the case can stay open in court for as long as the trust continues, and that can run for generations.

So trust documents often state by stipulation that the trustee has received $10 cash, or something, as the initial transfer of assets.

A trick I used to see, but not so much anymo