I used to work for World Savings Bank in Phoenix, Arizona. Whenever a new client wanted to open an account in the name of their family trust I had to ask them to provide me with various parts of the trust document for the bank’s records. I made photocopies of specific sections and then I returned the trust to the client. The records I photocopied remained with the bank in the client’s file for an indefinite period of time. As I look back on that procedure now, I am grateful that my bank did not require me to take a full copy of the client’s trust – I only had to know very particular information to open the account.
Have you ever had the experience where you wanted to open an account at a financial institution and the employee of that institution asked you for a complete copy of your trust as part of the account opening process? I am continually amazed when I hear our clients tell us of such experiences.
Trusts are meant to be private. One of the main reasons for creating a trust in the first place is to avoid the public nature of probate. But having worked in a bank, I do understand the necessity of knowing some of the basic information of the trust to help facilitate continuity in the case of incapacity or death. Fortunately, Arizona law recognizes the private nature of trusts and helps to protect private information from being exposed to those who do not need it.
Under Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 14-11013 a trustee of a trust does not have to give a full copy of the trust document to anyone who asks for it. The statute outlines a method for providing a Certification of Trust to the asking party, such as a bank, and gives a detailed list of the information that must be contained on the Certification. As long as the required information is provided on the Certification, the statute provides protection for anyone who relies on the document and also describes how a person can be subject to damages if they do not act in good faith when requesting more information than they need from the trust. The Certification protects private information from being shared. It protects prying eyes from seeing birthdates, children’s names, and provisions relating to your beneficiary distributions.
At Morris Hall PLLC the Certification of Trust that we provide to our clients is in complete compliance with ARS 14-11013, which went into effect in 2009. If your MH trust was last reviewed before 2009, or you do not have an MH trust and you would like to have your current estate plan reviewed, please schedule a free consultation by calling 888.222.1328 today. Taking the time to make sure critical elements, such as an updated Certification of Trust, are part of your estate plan is time well spent.
What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down. The attorneys also help those in Arizona to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!