The certificate of trust is an unrecorded document executed by a trustee and presented to a party doing business with the trustee (such as a financial institution). The document is codified as part of the Wisconsin Trust Code at Wis. Stat. 701.1013.
In a trust arrangement, a settlor transfers assets another person who, as trustee, manages them for the benefit of the trust beneficiary. In lieu of presenting the entire trust instrument, which generally goes unrecorded in order to protect the settlor's estate plans, the certificate is an abstract containing only the information required of the trustee in order to conduct the business at hand. The document certifies that the trust exists and that the trustee has the authority to act in the pending transaction on behalf of the trust.
The certificate includes a statement that the trust exists and contains the name and date of the trust; the names of the settlor and all currently acting trustees; an inventory of the relevant powers of the trustee; and the name by which the trust vests title to property. The form also identifies anyone who holds a power to revoke the trust, and, when there are co-trustees, stipulates the authority of the trustees to authenticate trust documents. Additionally, the certificate requires a statement that the trust has not been modified, amended, or revoked so as to invalidate the facts presented.
In most cases, the certificate is not recorded. It may sometimes accompany a conveyance of real property out of the trust (a trustee's deed), verifying that the trustee has the authority to convey real property and confirming that the property is subject to the trust by providing the legal description of the property, as found in the trust agreement or conveyancing instrument into trust.
Statements made in the certificate may be relied on as fact; Wis. Stat. 701.1013 provides protection for persons relying in good faith on the information presented in the certificate. In addition to the certificate, the trustee may furnish excerpts from the trust instrument designating the trustee and establishing the trustee's power to act in the business at hand. Recipients of a certificate requesting that the trustee furnish the entire trust instrument, however, are open to liability.
The certificate may be signed by any trustee in the presence of a notary public. If the document is submitted for recording, it must conform to standards for recording established at Wis. Stat. 59.43(2m).
Consult a lawyer with questions regarding trusts and certifications of trust in Wisconsin, as each situation is unique.
Deeds.com Wisconsin Certificate of Trust Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Thursday January 16, 2020
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