After you make your Nolo’s Online Trust, finalize it, and transfer your property into it, there may be times when a bank or other institution will ask you to prove that the trust exists and that you really have the authority you say you do.
If you don't want to show the institution 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 Trust gives you a certification that meets the requirements of many states (for example, California). If our form 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 its own form or a form that has been approved by your state legislature.
A certification must be signed by you and a notary public. If you haven’t done it already, can notarize your certification at the same time that your notarize your trust—then you’ll have it if you need it.
A sample Certification of Trust is shown below.
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.
The trustees of the Sheila Jenkins Revocable Living Trust declares as follows:
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 This trust has not been revoked, modified or amended in such a way that would contradict what is stated in this Certification of Trust and remains in full force and effect.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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]