If you're thinking about creating an estate plan, you're probably running into lots of information about trusts, some of which may seem confusing or contradictory. There are many different types of trusts and many ways that you might use them, depending on your needs and wishes for your estate.
In general, a trust is a financial planning tool that allows people to remove items from personal ownership but still control how and when they or others access those items. You may find it helpful to think of a trust as a box. You can take things that you own -- money, real estate, etc. -- and place them in the box. Once they are in the box, you do not legally own them, protecting them from unnecessary taxation or preserving them from claims of creditors. You may even use a trust to reduce your income to qualify for government assistance.