Washington Certificate of Trust
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Certificate of Trust for Real Estate Located in Washington
Washington State Certification of Trust
When doing business with a trustee, third parties (such as financial institutions) may request a certification of trust, a statutory document that certifies the existence of a trust and outlines the trustee's powers and authority to act on the trust's behalf. In Washington, the certificate, taken from section 1013 of the Uniform Trust Code, is codified at RCW 11.98.075 as part of the probate and trust law of Washington.
In lieu of presenting parties outside of the trust arrangement (essentially, anyone who is not a trust beneficiary) with the entire trust document, RCW 11.98.075 allows the trustee to supply a certificate of trust containing the essential information about the trust necessary for the transaction at hand, and not "the dispositive terms of the trust" (RCW 11.98.075(4)). This allows the settlor's estate plans to remain private, including the identity of trust beneficiaries.
The certificate requires a statement that the trust exists, along with the name and date of the trust, the identity of the trust's settlor, and the name and address of each current trustee serving the trust. The document also establishes the relevant powers of the trustee to conduct the business at hand. If there are co-trustees, the certificate also outlines how many are required to jointly act in performing trustee powers, and who among them has signing authority. Additional evidence as to the designation of the trustee and the trustee's powers may be requested in the form of excerpts from the trust instrument.
In addition, a certificate of trust also identifies anyone holding a power to revoke the trust, if applicable, and identifies how assets held by the trust are titled. In support of a real property transaction, a certificate may also provide a legal description of the subject property.
The contents of the certificate may be relied on by the recipient as fact, and offers protections for persons relying on the information. The certificate contains a statement to the effect that the representations made within have not been invalidated by any amendments made to or revocation of the trust.
A certificate of trust in Washington may be signed by any trustee or an attorney for the trust in the presence of a notary public. If the certificate is submitted for recording with the appropriate county's land records, it must conform to Washington State recording requirements.
Consult a lawyer with questions regarding certifications of trust in Washington, as each situation is unique.