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District of Columbia Trust Laws

Figuring out what to do with your property after you die may not seem like a pressing concern, but it's crucial to plan ahead while you're still fully capable of doing so. District of Columbia trust laws allow people to manage their property during their life while ensuring an easy transition after death. There are a handful of ways that property can be transferred through a trust. This is a quick summary of the trust laws in the District of Columbia.

Proper Estate Planning in the District of Columbia: Creating a Trust

When it comes to estate planning, many people prefer to push it to the side instead of dealing with the inevitable issue of mortality. However, creating a trust to hand off your property once the grim reaper calls does not have to be a difficult task. District of Columbia's trust laws require trust to be created in a specific manner to be valid. Beneficiaries of a trust can be relatives, friends, charities, and even pets.

The following table outlines the specifics of District of Columbia trust laws.

Code Sections

District of Columbia Official Code §19-13: Uniform Trust Code

District of Columbia Official Code §19-1304: Creation, Validity, Modification, and Termination of Trust.

Creation Requirements

Washington, D.C. trust laws state that a trust is created only if:

  • The settlor has capacity to create a trust;
  • The settlor indicates an intention to create the trust;
  • The trust has a definite beneficiary (unless it is a charitable trust or trust for care of animals);
  • The trustee has duties to perform; and
  • The same person is not the sole trustee and sole beneficiary.

Trust Purpose

The purpose of a trust must be lawful, not contrary to public policy, and possible to achieve. A trust and its terms must be for the benefit of its beneficiaries.

Termination of a Trust

Under the district's code, a trust terminates if it is revoked or expires pursuant to its terms, if no purpose of the trust remains to be achieved, or if the purposes of the trust have become unlawful, contrary to public policy, or impossible to achieve.

Trust for Care of Animals

A trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal that is alive during the settlor's lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal. If the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal, the trust terminates upon the death of the last surviving animal.

Charitable Trusts

According to D.C. trust laws, a charitable trust may be created for the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, the promotion of health, governmental or municipal purposes, or other purposes that are beneficial to the community.

Don't wait too long to figure out where your property will go after you pass away. If you need legal assistance in creating a trust, you can contact a District of Columbia trust lawyer through FindLaw. Visit FindLaw's sections on trusts and estate planning for more articles and information on this topic.

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