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CERTIFICATE OF TRUST
What is a Certificate of Trust?
The Certification sets forth the existence of your Trust and your unlimited right as Trustees to deal with any account or asset held in the Trust. The Certification acts as a short version of the Trust Agreement and gives any third party all the information required from the Trust without getting into the dispositive provisions, which are (and should remain) confidential.
Using a Certificate of Trust to set up Bank Accounts held in Trust
The first time you may need to use a Certification of Trust is when you transfer certain assets to the Trust. Those assets usually include bank accounts and brokerage accounts. The representative at those financial institutions needs to confirm the existence of the Trust before they transfer title to it. By showing them the Certificate of Trust, they then can transfer title from those accounts being held individually (John Smith) to the Trust (John Smith, Trustee of the Smith Family Trust).
Using a Certificate of Trust After Initial Trustee Cease to Act
Another time that a Certificate of Trust is used is when the initial Trustees have passed and the Successor Trustee is now handling the duties of the Trust. In this situation a Certification of Trust is created to notify 3rd Parties that a Trust exists, that the original Trustees are no longer acting and that the Successor Trustee is the now acting Trustee. It also usually lists any real property that may be titled in the name of the Trust.
Below is a portion of the Probate Code which references the Certificate of Trust:
Probate Code 18100.5.
The trustee may present a certification of trust to any person in lieu of providing a copy of the trust instrument to establish the existence or terms of the trust. A certification of trust may be executed by the trustee voluntarily or at the request of the person with whom the trustee is dealing.
The certification of trust may confirm the following facts or contain the following information:
The existence of the trust and date of execution of the trust instrument.
The identity of the settlor or settlors and the currently acting trustee or trustees of the trust.
The powers of the trustee.
The revocability or irrevocability of the trust and the identity of any person holding any power to revoke the trust.
When there are multiple trustees, the signature authority of the trustees, indicating whether all, or less than all, of the currently acting trustees are required to sign in order to exercise various powers of the trustee.
The trust identification number, whether a social security number or an employer identification number.
The manner in which title to trust assets should be taken.
The legal description of any interest in real property held in the trust.
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