Budgeting Financial Planning Estate Planning The Many Titles For the Creator of a Trust By Julie Garber Julie Garber Julie Garber is an estate planning and taxes expert with over 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer. She is a vice president at BMO Harris Wealth management and a CFP. Julie has been quoted in The New York Times, the New York Post, Consumer Reports, Insurance News Net Magazine, and many other publications. learn about our editorial policies Updated on April 29, 2022 Reviewed by Marguerita Cheng Reviewed by Marguerita Cheng Twitter Marguerita is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®), Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®), and a Chartered Socially Responsible Investing Counselor (CSRIC). She has been working in the financial planning industry for over 20 years and spends her days helping her clients gain clarity, confidence, and control over their financial lives. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Julian Binder Fact checked by Julian Binder Julian Binder is a fact checker, researcher, and historian. They were the recipient of the North American Studies Book Prize (2016, 2017), and they have previous experience as an economics research assistant. They have also worked as a writer and editor for various companies, and have published cultural studies work in an academic journal. As a fact checker for The Balance, Julian is able to utilize their experience as an editor and economics research assistant. Their role as fact checker is to review articles for accuracy, update data as needed, and verify all facts by citing trusted sources. learn about our editorial policies Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: RichLegg/E+/Getty Images Are you the settlor, trustor, trust-maker, or grantor of your revocable living trust? You're not the first person to ask that question. It can seem confusing at first, but it's really not. All four terms mean the same thing. As if this were not confusing enough, the trust-maker can also name themselves as trustees and beneficiaries in certain situations. There are many reasons that those who establish trusts do that, but the most common is for health purposes. Quick Definition of a Trust A trust is a financial tool designed to ensure that a person's assets are held, managed, and distributed in accordance with their wishes. Trusts can be used for many purposes. Some of the most common are passing on inheritances, college money for descendants, or simply ensuring that beneficiaries use money in the manner the grantor wishes. Settlor, Grantor, Trust-Maker, and Trustor The terms grantor, settlor, trust-maker, and trustor all mean the same thing for estate planning purposes. All refer to the person who creates a trust. That individual can be different from other titles seen sprinkled throughout the trust agreement, which is where things can get a bit confusing. The trustee is the individual charged with managing the trust. Often, the trust-maker of a revocable living trust will appoint themselves as the trustee (the handler of the trust) of their own trust. In that case, all of the terms—"settlor," "trustor," "grantor," and "trustee"—refer to the same person. That isn't the case with irrevocable trusts, which typically require that the trustor hand over control of the trust to another party appointed to act as the trustee. Successor-Trustees and Beneficiaries A "successor-trustee" is someone else entirely—an individual named to take over for the trust-maker of a revocable living trust under designated circumstances if that person has named themselves as the trustee. The successor-trustee would step into the role of the trustee if the trust-maker were to become mentally incapacitated or pass away. People are generally designated in that fashion when the grantor knows that they will not be able to make decisions in the future, such as when they have a degenerative disorder or a terminal diagnosis. Beneficiaries are the individuals who will inherit or otherwise receive funds from the trust. Clearing Up the Confusion The terms for the initiator of a trust are the same regardless of what type you form—revocable, irrevocable, or testamentary. If you created it, you're the grantor/settlor/trust-maker/trustor—and sometimes the trustee. Some prefer to use the term "trust-maker," which is a more modern term, because it clearly describes what the person's title means. The more modern approach clearly describes the person's role in the transaction. Sometimes even attorneys get confused with legal terms that don't describe a person's role clearly. When in doubt, or when talking to someone who doesn't understand, it might be best to use a term that is the clearest. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. "Revocable and Irrevocable Trust Accounts." Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. "Revocable Trust Accounts (12 C.F.R. § 330.10)." Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. "Irrevocable Trust Accounts (12 C.F.R. § 330.13)." Department of Justice. "Handbook For Chapter 7 Trustees Forms and Instructions."