How to Dispense a Living Trust

By Phil M. Fowler
How to Dispense a Living Trust
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A trustee can dispense trust property at any time as long as the disbursement is consistent with the terms of the trust, an applicable statute, or a court order. Most trusts give trustees broad discretion on making trust disbursements. The trust document also might provide specific instructions for how to make trust disbursements; however, most trusts are silent on this. Trustees should follow a few basic steps when dispensing of trust property.

Dispensing Trust Property

Review the trust document for any specific provisions regarding how or when trust property can be disbursed.

Follow any specific instructions regarding how to carry out trust disbursements.

Transfer property possession. If the trust document is silent on how to dispense trust property, you can simply transfer physical possession of the property to the beneficiary.

Execute documents. If you are dispensing trust property that requires a certificate of title, such as real estate or stock certificates, you need to execute documents of conveyance to the beneficiary. For example, if you are dispensing real estate you need to execute a property deed to the beneficiary.

Record deeds. If you are dispensing real estate you need to record the conveyance deed with the county recorder where the property is.

Remove property from the trust schedule. If you are dispensing property that does not require a certificate of title, then you should remove the property from the trust schedule. The easiest way to do this is to draft a new schedule that does not include the dispensed property.

About the Author

The Constitution Guru has worked as a writer and editor for "BYU Law Review" and "BYU Journal of Public Law." He is an experienced attorney with a law degree and a B.A. degree in history with an emphasis on U.S. Constitutional history, both earned at Brigham Young University.