Trusts are an important part of estate planning because they give you some control over how your assets will be distributed once you're gone. When you establish a trust, you are expected to provide a formal name that will identify the trust to its trustees, who are the people who manage the account, and its beneficiaries. While a trust name can be changed at any time, many experts recommend trust names that are short and easy to write. In addition to appearing on all trust documents, you will need to use the trust name you select on assets like bank accounts that will be established in the name of the trust and on existing assets that will be transferred into it. When selecting a trust name, you should consider a number of factors.
Consider the Grantor and Beneficiaries
The most obvious choice is to create the trust in the name of the grantor, who is the person who sets up the trust. For example, if John Chang is the grantor, the trust might be named The John Chang Living Trust. An alternative is to name the trust after a set of beneficiaries who will benefit from the trust, such as minor children. For example, The Ethan and Lisa Chang Living Trust. If the beneficiary is an organization or charity, the trust name could reflect it. Since you are free to name the trust anything you want, you can use a geographical name, such as Westport Living Trust, or almost anything else you can imagine.
Keep the Name Short
Before you finalize on a trust name, consider the practical aspects of your choice. Because it is necessary to re-title property in the name of the trust, choose a trust name that can conveniently appear on checks, titled deeds and bank accounts. For example, “Hernandez Trust” is less cumbersome than “The Robert V. and Patricia S. Hernandez Living Trust Fund.”
Amend the Trust
To make changes to an existing trust, including changing its name, you only need to amend the trust. This can be done online or through an attorney. The most important step is to have the amendment notarized and filed with the original trust documents.
A trust name often is changed after a divorce or separation. The codicil is only necessary when changing an exiting trust name.
Ensure the Information is Correct
Review paperwork, such as the trust deed, Agreement for Sale and Purchase (which allows you to re-title assets) and Deed of Acknowledgment of Debt (which allows you to loan your trust money). The correct trust name must appear on all documents.
- A trust name often is changed after a divorce or separation.
- The codicil is only necessary when changing an exiting trust name.
Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.