Does a trust have to be written?
Although it is generally a good idea to always write up some document evidencing the creation and existence of a trust, a trust does not always have to be written. While this varies from state to state, generally, a trust must be written when the property (or some portion of the property) is real property (i.e., real estate), but need not be written when the property is only personal property.
As for what should go in the trust document, the specific requirements also vary from state to state. Generally, however, the document must include the basic terms of the trust - the identity of the various parties, the identity of the property included in the trust and the conditions and duties relating to the trust. This writing should be made before, or at the time of, the transfer of property. If it is done later, the trust may be found invalid and the property transfer would be interpreted as a gift to the beneficiary, who would own all titles outright.