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Pennsylvania Trust Laws

Trusts are tools used for estate planning and managing property. If a trust is used to manage property during a person's lifetime, it's known as a living or inter vivos trust. If a trust is used to replace or supplement a will, then it's a testamentary trust. People tend to prefer testamentary trusts to wills because trusts don't have to go through probate, which can be expensive and take a long time.

Trusts are governed by state law. However, since many states have adopted the Uniform Trust Code, the laws governing trusts in these states are very similar - if not identical - to each other. The Uniform Trust Code is a model law that codifies common law principles and standards relating to trusts. Pennsylvania is one of the states that has adopted the Uniform Trust Code.

Pennsylvania Trust Laws

The following table outlines the basics of Pennsylvania's trust laws.

Code Sections Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes: Title 20, Chapter 77 - Trusts
Definition of Trust When a person - referred to as a "settlor" "grantor" or "trustor" - transfers legal title of property to a trustee for the benefit of a beneficiary, a trust is created. The trust provides terms for how the trustee is to administer the trust.
Definition of Trustee The trustee is the person responsible for administering the trust. The trustee must act in good faith and in the best interests of the beneficiary. The trustee also has various duties and powers given to him or her by law.
Definition of Beneficiary The beneficiary is the person or institution that receives the benefits from the trust. A trust can be created without a definite beneficiary if it's a charitable trust, a trust to care for a pet, or a noncharitable trust.

Pennsylvania Trust Laws: Related Resources

You can visit FindLaw's section on Estate Planning for more information and articles on this topic. If you have questions about trusts or estate planning, you may want to consult with an estate planning attorney in your area.

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