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How is a “trust agreement” different than a “declaration of trust”?

These two terms refer to a written document that sets forth the terms and conditions of the Trust. The differences between them are largely matters of style and local practice.

Typical provisions in a Trust agreement or declaration of Trust for an individual or married couple include the following:

(1) a statement of the purpose of the Trust

(2) the names of the Trust creator's family members

(3) whether the Trust creator, or anyone else, may amend or revoke the Trust

(4) who will serve as the initial Trustee(s), and who would serve, and in what order, if the initial Trustee becomes unable or unwilling to serve, in the event of illness, death or for any other reason

(5) what powers the Trustee should have, in terms of investment and management, and what discretion the Trustee is to have in terms of releasing money to beneficiaries, such as for education

(6) who the beneficiaries of the Trust are, or how to determine them; the Trust creator and his or her spouse are typically beneficiaries in a "living" Trust.

(7) who is to receive distribution of the Trust estate upon the death of the grantor, and

(8) when the beneficiaries would be entitled to receive the distributions, often at age 21, or half at age 21 and half at age 30.