Testamentary Trust

A testamentary trust is established through a Last Will and Testament of a decedent that has been admitted to probate in this county.  In this Court, it is administered as a separate case file.  It is the responsibility of the estate fiduciary or the estate fiduciary's attorney to file the necessary pleadings with the Court to establish the case file and secure the Court’s appointment of the testamentary trustee.  In an estate in which a will creates a testamentary trust to which assets pass from the estate or other beneficiary designation, the estate will not be closed until the testamentary trustee has been appointed and any assets passing from the estate are distributed to the testamentary trustee.  

If the dispositive provisions of the decedent's will leave separate shares in trust to multiple individuals (rather than a gift to a class of individuals with the a single pool of assets to be managed for the mutual benefit of the class), an individual trust case file shall be opened to administer each separate share of the overall trust.

Items Necessary to File a Testamentary Trust Case:

  1. Copy of the Will creating the testamentary trust;
  2. Copy of Driver’s License or Government issued picture ID of the Applicant;
  3. Filing of the Court's background check documents pertaining to the Applicant;
  4. Application for Appointment and Trustee's Acceptance;
  5. The base court cost deposit is one hundred twenty dollars ($120.00);
  6. Oath of Trustee (to be executed in the presence of a judicial officer of the Court);
  7. Adequate bond if not waived in the will, or if the trustee is a non-resident, regardless of the will; and
  8. A listing of the names and addresses of the trust beneficiaries and the trustee, including the birth date of each individual beneficiary who is then under the age established in the trust for final distribution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Court’s Role in a Testamentary Trust?
A testamentary trust is one that is created through the decedent’s will and come into existence as a result of the death.  The probate court has exclusive jurisdiction to construe the trust and to direct, control, supervise and review the administration of the trust by the testamentary trustee.  The trustee is accountable to the Court, as well as the trust beneficiaries and accountings of receipts and distributions are filed with the Court.  The trust terminates pursuant to the terms of the decedent’s will or upon court order when the purposes of the trust no longer are being served through the trust, or when its assets fall below certain financial minimums and termination would not defeat the purposes for its creation.

Additional information