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Making a Certification or Abstract of Trust

When you go to transfer property in or out of your living trust, a bank or other institution may ask to see the trust document. The institution wants to know that the trust exists and that you really have the authority you say you do.

If you don't want to show your trust document, in most cases you can use a shorter version of it, called a certification, certificate, abstract or memorandum of trust (different states use different names). This document gives institutions the information they need but lets you keep some key provisions private. Notably, you don't have to disclose the names of the beneficiaries to whom you're leaving trust property. A certification is almost universally accepted in place of an entire trust document.

Many states have laws stating that if a certification of trust includes certain information, institutions must accept it in lieu of the entire trust document. California law, for example, states that someone who refuses to accept a valid certification and demands to see the whole trust document may be liable for any monetary loss suffered by the trust grantor.

Nolo's Online Legal Forms gives you a certification that meets the requirements of many states (for example, California). Even if it doesn't contain everything your state's form does, it will still be acceptable in a great many cases. However, an institution may insist that you use the form that has been approved by your state legislature. The states that have their own requirements are listed below. You can look up your state's law if you need to; see If You Need More Help for tips. In addition, institutions such as banks and title companies may have their own forms, which they would prefer you to use.

You should sign the certification in front of a notary public. If you and your spouse or partner made the trust together, you both need to sign the certification. If one has died, the survivor can make a certification.

A sample is shown below.

States With Their Own Certification Rules

Most states have enacted statutes setting out the contents for a certification of trust. If your certification meets the state requirements, institutions must accept it or be liable to you for your losses.

If you want to read your state's statute, start at www.nolo.com/legal-research/state-law.html. You can also find it in a law library.

State Statute Sections on Certification of Trust
Alabama Ala. Code §§ 19-38-1013
Arizona Ariz. Rev Stat. s § 14-11013
Arkansas Ark. Rev. Stat. § 28-73-1013
California Cal. Prob. Code § 18100.5
Delaware 12 Del. Code Ann. § 3591
District of Columbia D.C. Code Ann. § 19-1310.13
Florida Fla. Stat. Ann. § 736.1017
Idaho Idaho Code § 68-115
Iowa Iowa Code § 633A.4604
Indiana Ind. Code § 30-4-4-5
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 58a-1013
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 18-B, § 1013
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 565.432
Minnesota Minn. Stat. § 501B.56
Mississippi Miss. Code Ann. § 91-9-7
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 456.10-1013
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. § 30-38,102 and following
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. § 164.410
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 564-B:10-1013
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. § 46A-10-1013
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. § 36C-10-1013
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code § 59-18-13
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code § 5810.13
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. § 130.860
Pennsylvania 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 7790.3
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-4-27
South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 62-7-1013
South Dakota S.D. Cod. Laws Ann. § 55-4-42
Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 35-15-1013
Texas Tex. Prop. Code § 114-086
Utah Utah Code Ann. § 75-7-1013
Virginia Va. Code § 55-550.13
West Virginia W.Va. Code § 36-1-4a
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. § 4-10-1014


Certification of Trust


The trustees of the Sheila Jenkins Revocable Living Trust declares as follows:

Part 1. Existence and Name of Trust/Grantor

Sheila Jenkins, called the grantor, created a revocable living trust, known as the Sheila Jenkins Revocable Living Trust, by Declaration of Trust dated August 15, 20xx. This trust has not been revoked, modified or amended in such a way that would contradict what is stated in this Certification of Trust and remains in full force and effect.

Grantor's address is:
900 Lincoln Street
Tucson, Arizona 85745

Part 2. Amendment and Revocation

The grantor may amend or revoke the Sheila Jenkins Revocable Living Trust at any time, without notifying any beneficiary. The power to revoke or amend the trust is personal to the grantor. A conservator, guardian or other person shall not exercise it on behalf of the grantor, unless the grantor specifically grants a power to revoke or amend the trust in a Durable Power of Attorney.

Part 3. Trustee

Sheila Jenkins is the currently acting trustee of the trust.

The trustee in office shall serve as trustee of all trusts created under this Declaration of Trust, including children's subtrusts.

Part 4. Title to Trust Assets

Title to trust assets should be taken in the name of Sheila Jenkins, trustee of the Sheila Jenkins Revocable Living Trust, dated August 15, 20XX.

Part 5. Trustee's Management Powers and Duties

Powers Under State Law

The trustee shall have all authority and powers allowed or conferred on a trustee under Arizona law, subject to the trustee's fiduciary duty to the grantor and the beneficiaries.

Specified Powers

The trustee's powers include but are not limited to:

1. The power to sell trust property, and to borrow money and to encumber trust property, including trust real estate, by mortgage, deed of trust or other method.

2. The power to manage trust real estate as if the trustee were the absolute owner of it, including the power to sell, lease (even if the lease term may extend beyond the period of any trust) or grant options to lease the property, to make repairs or alterations and to insure against loss.

3. The power to sell or grant options for the sale or exchange of any trust property, including stocks, bonds, debentures and any other form of security or security account, at public or private sale for cash or on credit.

4. The power to invest trust property in every kind of property and every kind of investment, including but not limited to bonds, debentures, notes, mortgages, stock options, futures and stocks, and including buying on margin.

5. The power to receive additional property from any source and add to any trust created by this Declaration of Trust.

6. The power to employ and pay reasonable fees to accountants, lawyers, investment experts or other professionals for information or advice relating to the trust.

7. The power to deposit and hold trust funds in both interest-bearing and non-interest-bearing accounts.

8. The power to deposit funds in bank or other accounts uninsured by FDIC coverage.

9. The power to enter into electronic fund transfer or safe deposit arrangements with financial institutions.

10. The power to continue any business of the grantor.

11. The power to institute or defend legal actions concerning this trust or the grantor's affairs.

12. The power to execute any documents necessary to administer any trust created by this Declaration of Trust.

13. The power to diversify investments, including authority to decide that some or all of the trust property need not produce income.


This Certification of Trust is being signed by all currently acting trustee.

_____________________________________ Dated: ______________
Sheila Jenkins, Grantor and Trustee



Certificate of Acknowledgment of Notary Public

State of ______________________  )
   ) ss.
County of ______________________  )


On ____________________, __________ before me, _____________________, a notary public in and for said state, personally appeared ____________________, who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument, and acknowledged to me that she/he executed the same in her/his authorized capacity, and that by her/his signature on the instrument the person, or the entity upon behalf of which the person acted, executed the instrument.


Witness my hand and official seal.

_____________________________________

NOTARY PUBLIC

My commission expires __________________


 

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