Michigan Certificate of Trust Existence

Michigan Certificate of Trust Existence

A Michigan Certificate of Trust Existence is not always required, but can be a good idea. Here are some reasons why…

What is a Certificate of Trust Existence?

As provided by Michigan statutes MCL 565.431, et seq., a certificate of trust existence and authority (referred to as a “certificate of trust”) or the entire trust declaration may be filed at a register of deeds office.

Filing either a certificate of trust or the entire trust declaration when real property is placed into trust is beneficial and, in some cases, necessary for the orderly administration of the trust (allowing for smoother transfer of real property held by the trust).

When Do I Have to File a Certificate of Trust Existence?

I usually recommend filing a certificate of trust instead of the entire trust declaration for a few reasons:

  1. a certificate of trust is a shorter document and therefore does not cost as much to file with a register of deeds office;
  2. a certificate of trust is a much more private option because it basically just acknowledges the existence of a trust — it only contains small excerpts of the actual trust and does not include any distribution provisions or other personal information;
  3. an updated trust declaration must be filed with a register of deeds office if portions of the trust declaration are modified or revoked. If a certificate of trust is originally filed, a new certificate of trust is only required if the excerpted portions contained in the certificate of trust are changed.

The Requirements of a Michigan Certificate of Trust:

The requirements of a certificate of trust are provided in MCL 565.432 and follow here:

a) The title of the trust,

b) The date of the trust agreement and any amendments to the trust agreement,

c) The name of the settlor or grantor and the settlor’s or grantor’s address,

d) The names and addresses of all of the trustees and successor trustees,

e) The legal description of the affected real property,

f) Verbatim reproductions of provisions of the trust agreement, and any amendments to the trust agreement, regarding all of the following:

(i) The powers of the trustee or trustees relating to real property or any interest in real property and restrictions on the powers of the trustee or trustees relating to real property or any interest in real property,

(ii) The governing law,

(iii) Amendment of the trust relating to the trust provisions described in subdivision (a) to (f)(ii),

g) Certification that the trust agreement remains in full force and effect;

h) A list of names and addresses of all persons who, at the time the certificate of trust is executed, are trustees of the trust.

Pursuant to MCL 565.433:

A certificate of trust existence and authority shall be executed by the settlor or grantor; an attorney for the settlor, grantor, or trustee; or an officer of a banking institution or an attorney if then acting as a trustee. The certificate shall be in the form of an affidavit.

If you have questions about a trust or whether and how to file a certificate of trust existence in Michigan, I welcome you to contact me at Lisa J. Peterson, PLLC online or call (734) 887-2334. I offer estate planning services throughout Washtenaw County and the surrounding communities.

Categories: Estate Planning

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