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  • Writer's pictureMatt Devitt

Certificate of Trust

One benefit of establishing a trust as part of your estate plan is the ability to maintain privacy in your total assets and how you want them distributed at the time of death. What do you do then when a financial institution or another 3rd party, that is not a beneficiary, requires that you provide them a copy of your entire revocable trust? The answer is simple, tell them no if there is no legal basis for them to request the full trust.

The request for the entire trust agreement is almost always unnecessary thanks to the Michigan Compiled Laws. MCL 700.7912 allows the settlor/trustee of a revocable trust to simply furnish a certificate of trust which contains summary provisions of the actual trust. The contents of the certificate of trust typically include 1) the name and current address of the current trustee, 2) the revocability or irrevocability of the trust, 3) the powers of the trustee relating to the purpose that the certificate of trust is being used for, and 4) the authority of the cotrustee to sign on behalf of the trust.

While revocable trusts are excellent estate planning tools, it is important to understand the additional steps that are required to fund a trust. In almost all instances, 3rd party financial institutions will require a certificate of trust to make sure that the document they are relying on is actually as it is being represented. Should you ever need a certificate of trust updated or created it is important to work with an experienced attorney to help you draft to the requirements of MCL 700.7912.

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