A: A trust is simply a contract that designates who can sign your name when you are dead (or incapacitated) and tells where your stuff should go when you die.
Remember the problem with the deed when we tried to sell Grandma’s house after she died? If Grandma had a properly funded trust, the trust, a contract, would have designated who had the authority to sign Grandma’s name on the deed after she died or if she became incapacitated. Since the trust gave someone authority to sign Grandma’s name, we would not have to probate the estate. If we do not have to probate the estate, we avoid the court process, save time (as little as 12 weeks to settle a trust rather than 12 months to settle the probate of a will), keep Grandma’s affairs as private as possible and greatly reduce attorneys’ fees. (If there is no federal estate tax return we typically only charge $1,000 to settle a property funded trust).