who owns the assets placed in a trust?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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who owns the assets placed in a trust?

My 92 year old mother is applying for a VA pension as a
surviving spouse. We need to list her assets as part of the
application. Everything she had is in a trust over which she
has no control. Does she legally own these assets? Or are
they owned by the trust? Will she need to list the trust
assets as hers on any application form? This is very
confusing. Can you shed some light on this? Thanks.

Asked on April 10, 2018 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) The trust is the legal owner of the assets.
2) If the trust is an irrevocable one--that is, one she cannot undo or change--then they are not her assets; if it is recovable, or one that she can undo or change (that is, "revoke"), they would be considered her assets even though she does not technically own them at the time, because she has the power to take them back at will. So the critical question is whether the trust is irrevocable (not her assets) or revocable (considered her assets).
3) If she draws income from the trust, she may need to list that (the income, not the assets), if income is a question on the application.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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