Certificate of Trust

The principal benefits of a trust is (1) privacy and (2) efficiently disposing of one’s property after death. To maintain privacy, the Trust Code permits a trustee to disclose a “certificate of trust” to third-parties as opposed to providing an entire trust instrument.

In certain circumstances, third-parties (eg, banks, real estate title companies, etc.) want to see a trust instrument to ensure that the trustee is acting within his/her/its authority. Rather than providing the whole trust document, a certificate of trust under Section 456.10-1013, RSMo allows a certification containing key information — like the identity of the settlor(s), the identity of the trustee(s), and the power of the trustee(s) — to be provided in lieu of the whole document.

A person who in good faith enters into a transaction in reliance upon a certificate of trust may enforce the transaction against the trust property as if the representations contained in the certificate were correct. Section 456.10-1013.7, RSMo. Frustratingly, people will still insist on seeing the entire document. If, however, a person makes a demand for the trust instrument in addition to the certificate, the requesting party is liable for damages if they did not act in good faith. Section 456.10-1013.8, RSMo.

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