How the New Washington Trust Act Affects You and Your Clients

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The Washington Trust Act (“Act”) became effective on January 1, 2012, and affects trusts created before, on or after January 1, 2012. Your institution may not qualify to serve as a trustee, but your clients may be beneficiaries of trusts or they may have been nominated to serve as trustee of a family trust. While a detailed review of the full Act would be necessary to understand all of its new trustee obligations and beneficiary rights, this article addresses some of the significant changes in rights, duties and obligations under the new Act.

Notice of Existence. For irrevocable trusts created after December 31, 2011, and revocable trusts that become irrevocable after December 31, 2011, (or within sixty days of the acceptance of the position of trustee of an irrevocable trust), the trustee must provide notice to all persons “interested in the trust.” Those persons will vary with the particular trust, but it is a broad group. See RCW 11.97.010(2), RCW 11.96A.030. The notice must include: 1) the fact that the trust exists; 2) the identity of the trustor(s); 3) the trustee’s name, address and telephone number; and 4) information about the beneficiaries’ right to request information that would be reasonably necessary for a beneficiary to enforce his or her rights under the trust. This requirement of notice of existence of the trust does not apply to trusts that became irrevocable prior to December 31, 2011.

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