How the New Washington Trust Act and its 2013 Amendments Affect You and Your Clients - December 2013

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In 2011, the legislature adopted a new Washington Trust Act (the “2011 Act”). The 2011 Act took effect on January 1, 2012, and codified many changes to the duties of trustees and the rights of trust beneficiaries. Within 18 months, in May 2013, the legislature adopted additional new legislation that “amended the amendments” (the “2013 Amendments”). Although it would require a much longer article than this to address all of the changes to Washington trust law that became effective in 2012 and 2013, this article addresses some of the more significant provisions impacting both trustees and beneficiaries.

Notice of Existence of Trust: The 2011 Act required that trustees notify “all persons interested in the trust” of the existence of a trust within 60 days of acceptance of the position of trustee, or within 60 days of a revocable trust becoming irrevocable. This duty could not be waived or modified for trusts created after December 31, 2011, or for trusts that became irrevocable after December 31, 2011, even in situations where the trustor did not want beneficiaries to be notified of the trust’s existence or of their status as beneficiaries. The new 2013 Amendments soften this requirement by providing that the trustor may waive or modify the notification requirement, either in the trust document or in a separate writing made at any time and delivered to the trustee. It is important to note that if the trustor does not waive this requirement by one of these two methods, the trustee is still bound by law to give the notice, even if the trustee believes that notification is a poor choice. Where applicable, 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) notice of the beneficiaries’ right to request information that would be reasonably necessary for a beneficiary to enforce his or her rights under the trust.

Originally published in Community Bankers of Washington’s Community Banker magazine in December 2013.

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Topics:  Beneficiaries, Trustees, Trusts

Published In: Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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