How to Write a Check for a Beneficiary

In a legal trust, title to property is split into legal and equitable title. The beneficiaries hold equitable title. Equitable title entitles the beneficiaries to the benefits of the property in the trust. The trustee oversees the administration and distribution of the property held in trust and holds legal title. If the trust entitles the beneficiary to a sum of money, the trustee must write a check to that beneficiary in his capacity as trustee.

Open a checking account in the name of the trust unless the account already has a checking account for the trustee’s use. Use a check from the trust checking account.

Write the name of the beneficiary on the payee line of the check. This line typically reads “Pay to the Order of:.”

Write the purpose of the disbursement on the memo line. For example, if the trust requires the trustee to pay $500 to the beneficiary every two months, write “Trust Disbursement, [Month].”

Sign the check in your capacity as trustee. The line should look similar to “[Your signature], Trustee of [Name of Trust].”


  • Read the terms of the trust carefully to be sure that you, as trustee, are authorized to make that particular disbursement to the beneficiary. As a trustee, you must act according to the terms of the trust, and you cannot make unauthorized transfers to beneficiaries. If you have any concerns, seek independent legal advice.


About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.