The Definition of a Certificate of Trust

By Beverly Bird
A certificate allows you to take care of personal business without divulging the confidential details of your trust.

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When you create revocable living trust, you typically act as trustee and this means you can move property in and out of it at will, even dissolving the trust if that's what you want. In the course of doing personal business, your banks, lenders or other financial institutions might want confirmation that certain assets are still in your trust and that you’re still acting as trustee and have access to them. A certificate of trust -- sometimes called a certification, abstract or memorandum of trust -- substantiates that certain property is indeed held in the trust’s ownership. The certificate serves the same purpose with an irrevocable trust.

What the Certificate Includes

Although the requirements can vary from state to state, a certificate of trust typically identifies the trustee who has the power to move, sell or bequeath the property held within the trust entity. It cites when the trust was created and if any changes were made from the original version. If the trust is revocable, it explains who has the power to revoke it.

Advantages of a Certificate

A certificate of trust does not include certain information that you might not want the world to know. It doesn’t name your beneficiaries. It doesn’t say what they are entitled to inherit from you or when they might receive it. This allows you or your trustee to do business without disclosing information that you may want to keep confidential.

About the Author

Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.

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