Certification of Trust

In addition to your declaration of trust you might consider the creation of a so called “Certification of Trust” (sometimes “Trust Abstract”). A trust certification is basically a shortened version of your trust issued by the trustee, that only states the most important points of the living trust but does not reveal all its details. A certification of trust can be used instead the full trust document to prove the existence of the trust to banks or similar institutions.

Sometimes state law provides a list of facts or information that a certificate of trust may contain. An example is the California Probate Code in its section 18100.5. The provision’s items might not be required in all circumstances but they give a good idea of what a certificate of trust should contain:

(b) The certification of trust may confirm the following facts or contain the following information:
1. The existence of the trust and date of execution of the trust instrument.
2. The identity of the settlor or settlors and the currently acting trustee or trustees of the trust.
3. The powers of the trustee.
4. The revocability or irrevocability of the trust and the identity of any person holding any power to revoke the trust.
5. When there are multiple trustees, the signature authority of the trustees, indicating whether all, or less than all, of the currently acting trustees are required to sign in order to exercise various powers of the trustee.
6. The trust identification number, whether a social security number or an employer identification number.
7. The manner in which title to trust assets should be taken.
8. The legal description of any interest in real property held in the trust.