Chapter 8, Section K:
Processing with a Trust

Revised August 14, 2008


A trust is both a document and a relationship in which one or more trustees hold property for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. Such property is said to be "held in trust" by the trustee for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

A trust is established by one or more grantors. The trust may be for the benefit of the grantor or for other beneficiaries. A trust will always name one or more trustees, and will typically also name "successor trustees."

For example, a "family trust" might be established by Mr. and Mrs. Smith (as grantors) for the benefit of themselves and the Smith children (as beneficiaries), with Mr. and Mrs. Smith acting as trustees. The trust might also name Mr. and Mrs. Smith's siblings, children, a friend or a corporate trustee (e.g. a trust company) as "successor" trustee(s) to step into the trustee role at such time as neither Mr. nor Mrs. Smith is available, willing or competent to serve as trustee.

A trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to act according to the terms of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. As such he or she is, in a very real, legal sense, a different person when acting as trustee than when acting as an individual. In the example above, Mr. Smith, when acting as Trustee of the Smith Family Trust, has a different identity and a different set of responsibilities and obligations than he would when acting on his own behalf.
 

Multiple trustees

When there is more than one trustee, the trust document will state, somewhere in the body of the trust, whether the trustees must manage the trust together or if any one trustee can act independently of the other(s).
 

Requirements

Follow the requirements in Chapter 3A or Chapter 4A for titling and registering a new or used vehicle. Also required specifically for trust transactions:

  • A copy of the trust document pages (including the first and signature pages) that name the trust, the effective date of the trust, and the trustee(s) and, if there is more than one trustee, indicate how many trustees' signatures are required to act on behalf of the trust. Neither an original document nor a certified copy is required.

    Unless the trust document clearly states otherwise, a general rule is that:
    a) If more than one person is named as trustee and the trustees' names are joined by the word “AND” all of the trustees' signatures are required to process a title transaction.
    b) If the trustees' names are joined by the word “OR” only one signature is required.
    c) If the trustees' names are not joined by “AND” or “OR” all of the trustees' signatures are required to process a title transaction.