Does a Living Trust Need to Be Registered in North Carolina?

By Maggie Lourdes

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.

Privacy

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.

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How to Execute a Living Trust

A living trust allows a person known as a trust grantor to place his assets under the administration of a trustee, who then distributes these assets to trust beneficiaries as instructed by the grantor in the trust deed. The main advantage of a living trust is that since it is prepared while the grantor is still alive, it allows the grantor's property to pass to his beneficiaries, both before and after his death, without the expense and delays of probate. The administration of a living trust involves challenges, responsibilities and potential legal liability.

Can the Powers of the Successor Trustee Be Revoked?

A successor trustee is a trustee who takes over management of a trust after the original trustee leaves office. He may be a party named in the trust deed, consented to by the trust grantor or beneficiaries, or appointed by a court. State laws provide several ways in which a successor trustee's powers can be revoked and the trustee removed from the position.

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A living trust is a common document in estate planning that provides for an orderly transfer of property without having to go through the time and expense of probate court. One important aspect of the living trust is naming a successor trustee – the person who will be responsible for transferring the trust assets when the person who made the trust dies. If you are named as a successor trustee, you must perform the task of taking title to the trust assets and ensuring that the property is properly distributed to the trust beneficiaries. This task requires knowing how to sign trust-related documents.

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