When to use a Memorandum of Trust

By Attorney Dan Vu

If you have a trust in Ohio, your trust, unlike a will, is a private document that is normally never made public. During your life and at your death, no third party needs to know who gets what and how much unless you want them to know.

However, as you may already know, your bank, financial institutions, a government agency, or a title company may request a copy of the trust. Out of frustration, you may have complied and given them a full copy of your trust. Instead of providing a full copy of the trust, Ohio law allows you to provide a Memorandum of Trust (also called Certificate of Trust or Abstract of Trust). This is a statement, signed by the trustee, which provides the requester only the bare essential information of the trust needed to complete your transaction.

In 2007, when Ohio adopted provisions of the Uniform Trust Code, third parties accepting a Memorandum of Trust are sheltered from liability. This allows, for example, a bank to happily accept a Memorandum in lieu of having their legal department review your entire trust. A win, win for both parties. If you require a Memorandum of Trust, have your attorney prepare one for you. For the requirements of a Memorandum of Trust, see ORC § 5810.13.


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