How to Terminate Blind Trusts

By Lisa S. Kramer

A blind trust is a special type of trust where the beneficiaries are unaware of the trust's assets and a designated trustee has full authority to manage the trust, including the purchase, sale and exchange of its assets. Politicians and corporate officers often set up blind trusts to avoid conflicts of interest and public scrutiny. In some states, it is legal for a lottery winner to set up a blind trust so that he can anonymously claim his winnings. A trust creator, called the settlor, can set up his blind trust as either a revocable or irrevocable trust. If the blind trust is set up as a revocable trust, the settlor can terminate the trust by following the revocation procedure set forth in either the trust agreement or state statutes. While revoking an irrevocable trust is not always impossible, the process is difficult as it usually requires court approval and consent of all the trust beneficiaries. Common reasons a settlor may want to terminate his blind trust include a change in financial circumstances, unhappiness with the trust’s beneficiaries or desire to shelter trust assets from tax authorities.

Step 1

Review the trust agreement as well as the state statutes regarding termination of a trust. If the trust agreement contains a provision that specifies how a settlor can terminate the trust, you must follow this procedure. If the trust agreement does not contain such a provision, you must follow the procedures set forth in your state’s statutes.

Step 2

Follow the termination procedure set forth by the trust agreement or your state’s statutes, whichever is applicable.

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Step 3

Obtain a Notice of Revocation of Trust form from your local clerk of courts. This form serves to both inform the trust’s trustee and beneficiaries of the trust’s termination and request the trustee transfer legal title to the trust assets back to the settlor personally.

Step 4

Fill out the Notice of Revocation of Trust form. On this form, you will have to include information such as your name and address, trustee’s name and address, trust beneficiaries’ names and addresses, title of the trust and trust's execution date.

Step 5

Have a licensed notary notarize and sign the form.

Step 6

Make several copies of the completed and notarized Notice of Revocation of Trust form.

Step 7

Serve copies of the Notice of Revocation of Trust on the trust’s trustee and beneficiaries.

Step 8

File the original copy of the Notice of Revocation of Trust at the applicable county recorder's office.

Step 9

Arrange for the trustee to transfer legal title to the trust assets from the trust back to the settlor personally.

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