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Oklahoma Memorandum of Trust

In Oklahoma, the memorandum of trust is codified at 60 O.S. 175.6a. Executed by a trustee, the memorandum of trust is a recorded document pertaining to real property acquisitions and transfers by an express private trust.

An express private trust refers to any trust that is "created with the settlor's express intent, usually declared in writing," and is not a business trust [1]. In a trust arrangement, a settlor conveys property to another person (the trustee) to be held for a third (the beneficiary). The trust is administered pursuant to the terms of a written document executed by the settlor. This document, called the trust instrument, designates the trustee and trust beneficiaries and outlines the provisions of the trust and the scope of the trust's assets. In some cases, the trust instrument may be recorded, but it is generally a private document.

In lieu of providing parties outside of the trust arrangement with the full trust instrument, a trustee may provide a memorandum when entering into real property transactions. The memorandum is an abstract of the trust instrument that is recorded when the trust acquires real property or when the trustee is conveying real property held in the trust. The document contains only essential information about the trust, allowing the settlor to keep his estate plans and other information irrelevant to the transaction at hand private. It is similar to a certification of trust (under the Uniform Trust Code), the major difference being that the certification is generally not recorded.

There are differences of opinion among title examiners on when a memorandum is required [2]. Oklahoma Title Standard 15.2 states that when real property is transferred to or by the name of a trustee as trustee of a named express private trust, a memorandum of trust is not required. Where a settlor makes a conveyance to a trust using the trust's name alone as the grantee, the Title Standards require a memorandum of trust (see also 60 O.S. 175.6a) [3].

The memorandum of trust provides the name of the trust and the name and address of each trustee of the trust, as well as the date the trust was created. Because the document pertains to real property, a legal description of the parcel subject to the transaction for which the memorandum is being recorded may be required.

A memorandum of trust is sometimes recorded alongside a conveyance by trustee as part of the deed as evidence of the trust's existence and the trustee's authority (as the trust instrument is generally not a matter of public record). The form should be signed by the trustees of a trust in the presence of a notary public before recording in the county in which the real property is located.

Consult a lawyer with questions about express private trusts and memoranda of trust in Oklahoma.


[1] Black's Law Dictionary, 8th ed.
[2] http://www.jhbpc.com/Estate-Planning-In-Depth/memotrust.htm
[3] http://eppersonlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/1-ORIGINAL-2016-TES-HANDBOOK-Final-160111.pdf

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Oklahoma Memorandum of Trust Form