In the trust context, “grantor” means the same thing as “trustor” or “settlor.” You might even see the it referred to as the “trustmaker.”

The grantor is the person who creates a trust. No matter what type of trust you have, the grantor is always in charge because they are the one who decides what the terms of the trust are. It’s the golden rule of trusts: the one who makes the trust makes the rules.

In many cases, it is the grantor’s assets that are placed into the trust, but that isn’t always the case. Assets can come from a wide variety of sources, as long as the donor is comfortable with the rules the grantor wrote for the trustee to follow.


The trustee is the one who is placed in charge of the trust.  It’s their job to follow the rules the grantor wrote in the trust.

Even though the grantor-trustee relationship requires agreement from both parties, it’s the trustee who must agree to follow the rules the grantor puts in place. That’s why, even for irrevocable trusts, we often talk with clients about how they are in charge because they decide what the rules of their trust are going to be.

The goal of the trust is to benefit the beneficiary, hence the term beneficiary.  The beneficiary is the one who is taken care of through the trust.  Depending on the rules of the trust, the way the beneficiary receives assets can change.  No trust is set up the same way because there is no one way to write a trust.

To learn more about writing the rules for your trust, schedule a Mutual Interview with us at (712) 737-3885 today!