What Is A Trust In Business?

What Is A Trust In Business - Business Trust vs LLC - Business Trust vs Family Trust - Can A Trust Own A Business - Can A Trust Own A Corporation - How To Set Up A Company Trust

What is a trust in business? 

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • what a business trust is and what it does
  • the types of business trust and their purpose
  • how to set up a business trust
  • if you can put a company inside a trust
  • business trusts vs LLCs
  • business trusts vs family trusts

Keep scrolling to learn more.

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What Is A Trust In Business?

A trust in business is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. 

Trusts can be arranged in many ways and can specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries. 

Businesses set up trusts for:

  • Asset Protection: Trusts can shield assets from lawsuits or creditors.
  • Tax Benefits: Trusts can offer tax advantages, potentially reducing tax bills.
  • Control: Trusts dictate how assets are used, ensuring they’re managed as intended.
  • Future Planning: Trusts can prepare a business for smooth ownership transitions.
  • Employee Benefits: Some trusts provide benefits or stock options to employees.
  • Charity Support: Trusts can be set up to donate to charitable causes.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what a trust is in business:

Components of a Trust in Business

  • Settlor (or Grantor or Trustor): The person or entity that creates the trust.
  • Trustee: The person or entity responsible for managing the assets in the trust. This can be an individual, a group of individuals, or a corporate entity.
  • Beneficiary: The person or entity that will benefit from the assets in the trust.
  • Assets: The property or funds placed in trust, which can include cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, and other tangible or intangible assets.

Types of Business Trusts

  • Living (or Revocable) Trust: Created during the settlor’s lifetime and can be altered or revoked by the settlor.
  • Irrevocable Trust: This cannot be altered or revoked once created.
  • Charitable Trust: Established to benefit a particular charity or the public in general.
  • Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT): A company that owns, and in most cases, operates income-producing real estate.
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP): A trust that holds company stock for the benefit of employees, providing an ownership interest in the company.
  • Business Continuation Trust: A trust that ensures business continuity if something happens to the owner or key persons in a business.

Purposes of Business Trusts

  • Asset Protection: Protect assets from creditors or legal claims.
  • Tax Planning: Minimize or defer taxes.
  • Succession Planning: Ensure a smooth transition of business ownership and leadership.
  • Benefits Provision: Offer benefits to employees or stakeholders.
  • Charitable Giving: Facilitate giving to charitable organizations.
  • Estate Planning: Ensure assets are distributed according to the settlor’s wishes upon death.

How To Set Up A Company Trust

Setting up a company trust means creating a special arrangement where assets, like money or property, are managed by a trusted person or group for the benefit of others. 

Here’s how to set up a company trust:

  1. Decide the Purpose: First, figure out why you’re setting up the trust. It could be for asset protection, tax benefits, or planning for the future.
  2. Choose the Assets: Decide what assets you want to put in the trust. This could be cash, property, stocks, or any other asset.
  3. Pick the Players:
    1. Settlor: This will be you or the person who’s creating the trust.
    2. Trustee: Decide who will manage the trust. It could be you, someone you trust, or a trust lawyer.
    3. Beneficiary: Identify who will benefit from the trust. It could be family members, employees, or others.
  4. Write the Trust Deed: This is the rulebook for the trust. It states the trust’s purpose, who’s involved, and how it’ll operate.
  5. Register the Trust: Depending on where you live, you might need to register your trust with a local authority or agency.
  6. Transfer Assets: Now, move the chosen assets into the trust. This might mean changing the title of a property or moving money into a special trust bank account.
  7. Manage the Trust: The trustee starts managing the assets according to the trust deed’s rules. This could involve investing money, maintaining property, or other duties.
  8. Regular Reviews: It’s a good idea to review the trust from time to time. This ensures it’s serving its purpose and allows for any necessary changes.

Can You Put A Business In A Trust?

Yes, you can put a business in a trust.

When you put a business in a trust, you’re transferring ownership of the business assets to the trust. 

A trustee will manage the business for the benefit of another person or group, known as the beneficiaries.

Read More: How Much Do Trusts Cost?

Can A Trust Own A Business?

Yes, a trust can own a business. In this setup, the trust holds the business assets or shares. 

The trustee manages these assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. 

This arrangement can provide benefits like asset protection and tax advantages.

Can A Trust Own A Corporation?

Yes, a trust can own a corporation. 

In this setup, the trust holds shares of the corporation, effectively making it an owner. 

The trustee manages these shares on behalf of the trust’s beneficiaries. 

This arrangement can offer benefits like asset protection and succession planning.

Read More: What Assets Cannot Be Placed In A Trust?

Business Trust vs LLC

Both a Business Trust and an LLC are structures that people use to operate a business or hold assets.

But they work differently and serve distinct purposes. 

Here’s how a business trust vs LLC compares:

Read More: Who Prepares A K1 For A Trust?

Business Trust

  • Nature: It’s an arrangement where assets are managed by a trustee for the benefit of others, called beneficiaries.
  • Purpose: Often used for asset protection, tax planning, or specific investment strategies.
  • Control: The trustee manages the trust’s assets, making decisions based on the trust’s guidelines.
  • Liability: The trust itself can offer some protection, but it varies based on the trust type and local laws.

Read More: Can A Trust Own An LLC?

LLC (Limited Liability Company)

  • Nature: It’s a hybrid business entity that combines elements of a corporation and a partnership or sole proprietorship.
  • Purpose: Commonly used to operate a business, offering flexibility and tax advantages.
  • Control: Owners, known as members, can either manage the LLC themselves or appoint managers.
  • Liability: Members have limited personal liability for the business’s debts, similar to shareholders in a corporation.

In short, a Business Trust focuses on managing assets for beneficiaries.

An LLC is a business structure designed for operating a business with limited liability and tax flexibility.

Read More: How Much Does A Trust Cost To Maintain?

Business Trust vs Family Trust

Both business trusts and family trusts are special arrangements to manage assets.

But they’re used for different purposes and in different contexts. 

Here’s how a business trust vs a family trust differs:


  • Business Trust: Mainly set up to handle business assets, operations, or investments. Its goal is often to protect assets, facilitate business operations, or offer tax advantages.
  • Family Trust: Created to protect and manage a family’s wealth. It helps in distributing assets among family members or preserving them for future generations.

Assets Involved

  • Business Trust: Typically involves business-related assets like company shares, real estate, or other investments tied to a business.
  • Family Trust: Usually holds personal assets like a family home, savings, and personal investments.


  • Business Trust: Can have a broader range of beneficiaries, which might include business partners, shareholders, or other stakeholders.
  • Family Trust: Beneficiaries are predominantly family members, either immediate or extended.


  • Business Trust: Control might be in the hands of professional trustees, business partners, or other stakeholders.
  • Family Trust: Typically controlled by family members, either directly or through chosen representatives.

Can A Family Trust Own A Company?

Yes, a family trust can own a company. In this setup, the trust holds the shares of the company. 

This arrangement can provide benefits like asset protection and tax planning. 

Set Up A Business Trust

If you want help from a trust law firm, fill out the form below. 

At The Hive Law, we understand the importance of:

  • protecting your hard-earned assets 
  • ensuring your family’s future
  • not losing everything to creditors and lawsuits
  • properly (and legally) distributing assets 

We only accommodate a limited number of clients each month.

So don’t miss your opportunity to work with our trust fund lawyers.

Benefits of our trust services:

  • Tailored solutions to fit your unique needs and goals
  • Expert guidance in navigating complex tax and legal matters
  • Preservation of your wealth for future generations
  • Streamlined asset distribution according to your wishes

Avoid the pitfalls of inadequate estate planning strategies:

  • Creditors seizing your assets
  • Lawsuits jeopardizing your family’s financial security
  • Family disputes over inheritance
  • Costly and time-consuming probate processes

Talk soon.

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