Unitrust Law and Legal Definition

Unitrust refers to a trust from which a fixed percentage of the net fair market value of the trusts assets valued annually, is paid each year to a beneficiary. In these trusts, the donor transfers property to a trust after retaining the right to receive payments from the trust for a specified term. Once the term ends, the trust estate is paid to a public charity designated by the donor. During a unitrust's term, a trustee invests the unitrust's assets and pays a fixed percentage of the unitrust's current value, as determined annually, to the income beneficiaries. If the unitrust's value goes up, its payout increases proportionately. Likewise, if the unitrust's value goes down, the amount it distributes also declines. Payments must be at least five percent of the trust's annual value and are made out of trust income, or trust principal if income is not adequate.