Identify the Parties and Describe the Property
Trust documents are broken into parts. Each part of a trust document accomplishes a purpose that is typically described by the title of the article. Besides the legalese, a trust document reads like a book. Each chapter covers a different topic. The first part identifies the parties and describes the property involved.
JANE ADAMS DOE REVOCABLE TRUST AGREEMENT
I, JANE ADAMS DOE, a resident of Sarasota, Florida, do hereby enter into the JANE ADAMS DOE REVOCABLE TRUST between myself as Settlor and myself as Trustee.
Jane has identified herself as the one entering into the trust (the creator or settlor), and she has identified herself as the initial trustee.
In Article 1.1, Jane gives her trust a name, the “JANE ADAMS DOE REVOCABLE TRUST.” You can give your trust any name. For instance, Jane could have called her revocable trust the “Mickey Mouse Trust.” However, if your trust is going to own your property while you are alive, and you are going to be the initial trustee, it is best not to create confusion by giving your trust an unusual name.
Article 1.2 is the declaration portion of the trust. You should list all the persons who are going to be beneficiaries of your trust and define the relationship of those persons to you. If you are going to name brothers, sisters, friends, or neighbors as beneficiaries, describe the people and their relationship to you.
Article 1.3 declares that you are going to attach Schedule A to describe the property owned by the trust. It is very important for you to understand that listing the property as owned by the trust does not automatically make the trust the owner. You must change the ownership of the property from yourself to your trustee, even if you are serving as the initial trustee. If the trustee does not own the property, the trust will have no effect on how your property is distributed.
Article 1.4 gives the trustee the power to accept property from other persons or sources. For instance, perhaps your parents are doing their estate planning. You could recommend that their estate planning documents leave property to the trustee of your trust rather than directly to you. Remember, one of the goals of your trust is for your family to avoid probate after you are gone. Your property must be titled in the name of the trust to accomplish that goal.