“Probate usually works like this: After your death, the person you named in your will as executor — or, if you die without a will, the person appointed by a judge — files papers in the local probate court. The executor proves the validity of your will and presents the court with lists of your property, your debts, and who is to inherit what you’ve left. Then, relatives and creditors are officially notified of your death.
Your executor must find, secure, and manage your assets during the probate process, which commonly takes a few months to a year. Depending on the contents of your will, and on the amount of your debts, the executor may have to decide whether or not to sell your real estate, securities, or other property. For example, if your will makes a number of cash bequests but your estate consists mostly of valuable artwork, your collection might have to be appraised and sold to produce cash. Or, if you have many outstanding debts, your executor might have to sell some of your property to pay them.” -Nevins Law Office
In common law legal systems, a trust is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another. A trust is created by a settlor, who transfers some or all of his or her property to atrustee. The trustee holds that property for the trust’s beneficiaries. Trusts have developed since Roman times and have become one of the most important innovations in property law.
An owner placing property into trust turns over part of his or her bundle of rights to the trustee, separating the property’s legal ownership and control from its equitable ownership and benefits. This may be done for tax reasons or to control the property and its benefits if the settlor is absent, incapacitated, or dead. Trusts are frequently created in wills, defining how money and property will be handled for children or other beneficiaries.
The trustee is given legal title to the trust property, but is obligated to act for the good of the beneficiaries. The trustee may be compensated and have expenses reimbursed, but otherwise must turn over allprofits from the trust properties. Trustees who violate this fiduciary duty are self dealing. Courts can reverse self dealing actions, order profits returned, and impose other sanctions.