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September 29, 2021

What is a Certification of Trust? What is it used for?

If you have a Trust, it likely contains a support document called a “Certification of Trust.” This article will illuminate the role and importance of this document.

The Certification of Trust or “Certificate of Trust” is essentially a short form version of your Trust.

The Certification of Trust contains important information about the Trust that is primarily useful to financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, financial advisors, etc.) and other third parties. Accordingly, this document is primarily used when “funding” your Trust. If any third party asks to see a copy of your Trust, typically you would simply provide the Certification of Trust.

What information is included in a Certification of Trust?

The Certification of Trust typically contains: (1) information about the creation of the Trust; (2) official name of the Trust; (3) names of the Trustees (or co-trustees) and Successor Trustees; (4) signature authority of the Trustees; (5) revocability of the Trust; (6) Trust’s taxpayer identification number (may not need one while the settlors are alive); (7) Trust’s address; (8) Trustee’s authority; (9) Trustee’s powers; (10) various administrative provisions.

Benefits of a Certification of Trust

Third parties have a short (usually just a few pages) summary that only contains those things they need to know. It is both efficient for them and preserves your privacy.

It is generally best practice for your attorney to include a Certification of Trust when creating Trust documents.

This article represents the opinion of the author and is intended for educational purposes. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. One should always consult with an experienced attorney before making estate planning decisions.

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