What is a Certificate of Trust?

Graphic of a woman wondering what is a certificate of trust

A Certificate of Trust is a short document, usually just one or several pages, that affirms the existence of a trust and its key provisions. Typically, a trustee provides a certificate of trust to a financial institution or other party in order to demonstrate that he or she is authorized to conduct business on behalf of the trust.

A basic outline of a Certificate of Trust includes all the below:

  • Identification of trust name and date
  • Identification of the Settlor (sometimes called the ‘Grantor’ or the Trustmaker) and the Trustee(s)
  • Summary of the Trustees powers: this may specifically list the trust powers, or simply reference the relevant state statute
  • Identification of people who have the ability to amend or revoke the trust

Why Use a Certificate of Trust

The key benefit of a Certificate of Trust is that it allows you to share a summary of the key provisions within the trust without exposing the contents of the entire trust agreement.

The financial institution relies on the representations of the Trustee signing the Certificate of Trust to prove that the trust exists and that he or she has the power to engage in financial transactions on behalf of the trust.

How to Create a Certificate of Trust

When you create your Revocable Living Trust with Just In Case Estates, you’ll receive a standard form Certificate of Trust that you or your Co-Trustee (if you have one) may use to interact with financial institutions.

Some financial institutions have their own Certificate of Trust forms or authorizations available on their website that they may prefer or require you to use. For example, Fidelity requires Trustees to use the Fidelity Certification of Trust, which is a simple form with fields for all the categories described in the basic outline above, along with a number of representations that the Trustee must make to Fidelity.

Questions About Your Certificate of Trust

Certificates of Trust are straightforward, yet effective documents.

If you have a question about your Certificate of Trust, or would like help finding the Certificate of Trust required by your financial institution, the Just In Case Estates Member Success team is happy to assist you – even if you created your Trust somewhere else.


Just In Case Estates is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice. If you need legal advice, please use our legal expert matching service to connect with a qualified, licensed estate planning attorney near you.