Living trusts, also called revocable trusts, are popular estate planning tools because they avoid the costs and delays of probate courts. Wills must be probated and become part of the public record when they are filed with the court. However, most states, including North Carolina, afford privacy to a living trust's creator and beneficiaries by not requiring public registration of trusts.
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Typically, North Carolina trusts are private documents not available for public review. However, there are circumstances when information regarding trusts becomes a matter of public record. For example, when a trust sells real estate, the trustee usually must attach a certificate of trust to the deed that transfers the property. The deed and certificate are generally recorded together in the county's public land records. A certificate of trust reveals limited information such as the date the trust was created, the name of its creator and trustee, and the powers granted to the trustee.