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Biddle Law Estate Planning Blog

Monday, April 26, 2021

6 Tips for Naming Your Trust

It may not seem like a very big decision, but what you choose to name your trust can be extremely important. Trusts differ from other legal entities in that there are no laws that govern what you must name them. In other words, the creator of a trust has free reign to name it whatever he or she chooses. While this may seem like a much easier situation, what you name your trust can have a big impact on the laws that govern the entity itself.

There is no approval process for the naming of a trust, but banks, real estate title insurance companies, and other similar entities must know the name of the trust in order to adequately file and find related legal documents. Depending upon the name of your trust, verification, and validity of related deeds and contracts can be majorly impacted.

Many trusts are named after their creator(s) and date of creation. This may be a good method, but there are still other things you should keep in mind for naming your trust. Here are 6 tips.

1. Keep the name short.

The longer you make the name of a trust, the more possibility you have of making a mistake. Additionally, longer names may require abbreviation on forms that lack enough room. This can often lead to mistakes and confusion. It’s often better to name a trust, “Smith Family Trust dated 2/12/21” than “John Q. Smith and Jane W. Smith Revocable Trust.”

2. Consider confidentiality.

There are some times when you may wish to keep the owner of the trust private. If confidentiality is an issue, it may make the most sense to choose a name that is associated with the owner or creator of the trust, but not his or her name itself. For instance, you may choose to name the trust after the family dog.

3. Consider something related to your family name.

When naming a trust you want to bear in mind that naming it something seemingly random may lead to further questions and other issues from those with whom you do business.

4. Consider naming it after the street address.

You may want to consider naming the trust after a street address, if the trust is related to a specific purpose that involves the address, such as owning and operating a commercial property. By naming it after the street rather than the business itself, it maintains a level of separation between the trust and the business.

5. Ensure that you are using legal names.

One of the most commonly made mistakes that people make during the naming process is that they fail to use the actual legal name of someone. If you don’t use legal names, it can lead to issues with the validity of your ownership and identity. For example, if you are Bob Barker III, the suffix “III” is extremely important and should be included.

6. Recheck the spelling of names.

Another very common mistake is that the creator of the trust often fails to ensure the spelling of the name prior to signing the declaration of trust. Spelling should be the same as it is on your:

  • Birth certificate
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • Deed to your home
  • Military records

If the spelling on any of these documents is different than another, it’s very important that you include an explanation in the declaration.

Biddle Law Can Help

When you work so hard for all of your assets and want them to go to specific people and causes in a certain manner, you deserve to be able to do so. However, without a properly structured estate plan, including a properly named trust, you can actually create detrimental circumstances for your loved ones, rather than help them. This is why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced California estate-planning attorney who knows the current laws and has experience creating comprehensive estate plans.

At Biddle Law, we are here to answer all of your questions and walk you through the estate planning process. We care about your future and want to assist in protecting your interests. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!


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