Updated August 21, 2020: 

Certification of Trustee

Certification of trustee is when the holder of the trust determines who has the power to move assets around within a trust. It also gives the trustee the power to sell or bequeath assets to other parties. You need to name a person who you have certainty in with the assets in the trust, as this person will have a significant responsibility.

The Definition of a Certificate of Trust

When creating a revocable living trust, you are acting as a trustee. This means that you can move property within the trust at will, even dissolving it if you wish to do so. When doing business, banks, lenders, and other types of financial institutions may want to confirm that some assets are still within the trust and that you can still access them.

A certification of trust is a document that is used to certify that a trust was established. It provides important information, like the name of the trust, the trustees, and the date it was formed. It is also referred to as an abstract or memorandum of trust. It provides substantiation that property is being held in the trust.

This certificate will do the same job with an irrevocable trust. A certification of trust is a type of self-certification. This means it is made by the trustee as a declaration on penalty of perjury.

What the Certificate of Trust Includes

While the certificate requirements will be different in each state, it generally provides the following:

  • The identification of the trustee who is in charge of moving, selling, or otherwise giving away property in a trust
  • It will cite the creation of the trust and any changes that are made from the original trust.
  • If its a revocable trust, it will explain who is allowed to revoke.

Advantages of a Certificate of Trust

One advantage of a certificate of trust is that it does not include information that you want to keep private. It will not list your beneficiaries, what they are going to inherit, or when they will receive it. This permits your trustee or you to conduct business while not disclosing information that you want to keep private.

What is a Certification of Living Trust?

Another name for the certification of living trust is the certification of inter vivos trust. A living trust is sometimes referred to as a family trust or inter vivos trust. They make sure that all assets acquired are in the name of the trust.

Banks and brokerage firms require that when you are opening a new account you need to provide a copy of the trust. It is also requested from escrows when you purchase real estate. Some don’t want to provide a copy of the trust since it has private information inside, which includes the name of their children. The certificate of inter vivos trust will provide the necessary information to facilitate a transfer from the trust to your banking institution, transfer agent, or other third party.

It will also confirm that the trustee has the authority to act for the trust. It will prevent anyone from getting into the trust that should not, including individuals and other institutions that have no business doing so.

What is a Memorandum of Trust?

A memorandum of trust is also a certification, abstract, or certificate of trust. It is a shorter version of the trust certificate. It provides institutions with information they need, but allows you to keep some components confidential. You are not required to provide the names of beneficiaries. It is almost always accepted in place of a regular trust.

States with Their Own Certification Rules

A lot of states will have their own laws regarding trusts. They state that if a certification of trust has certain information, the institution has to accept it in place of the whole trust document. Many states have certain statutes that lay out the contents of the certification of trust. As long as your certificates meet all state requirements, different institutions have to accept it. Otherwise, it will be liable for any losses that occur.

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