My Legacy Is In The Name Of My Trust

How do I choose a name for my Trust? Should it carry my name? Should it follow my child’s name? Or should I name it to a unique memory or places my family had been to?

When you establish a Trust, you are required to provide a formal name to identify the Trust to its trustees, the beneficiaries and the relevant legal authorities. Besides appearing on all Trust documents, the selected Trust name will also appear on bank accounts which hold your Trust assets, the CPF and insurance nomination forms which you nominate your Trust as the beneficiary. Very often, the names of the Settlors are most commonly used to name the Trusts.

If a Trust name is too long, for example ‘The Robert V. and Patricia S. Hernandez Family Trust’, it is not possible to fit into the limited space for the bank account name to hold the Trust assets or name of the CPF/ insurance nominee when filling in the nomination forms.

On the other hand, if it is too short, where the Settlor’s surname is commonly used, for example ‘Tan Family Trust’, it might be too common and does not differentiate from other similar trust name like ‘Tan Sui Family Trust’, that may create confusion in sorting out legal documents. Although using the Settlor’s surname carries the Settlor’s family identity, it may give rise to concern over privacy issues.

Things to keep in mind when naming a Trust:

1. Consider the Settlors and Beneficiaries

The most obvious choice is to create the Trust in the name of the Settlor, the person setting up the Trust. For example, if Jenny Chang is the Settlor, the Trust can be named ‘Jenny Chang Family Trust’. Otherwise, consider the beneficiaries who will benefit from the Trust, such as the minor children. For example, ‘Joseph and Mona  Chang Trust’. If the beneficiary is an organization or a charity, the trust name which can facilitate the ease for registration with The Commissioner of Charities should be considered.

2. Keep the Name Short

Before you finalize on a Trust name, consider the practical aspects of your choice. Because it is necessary to re-title any property in the name of the Trust, choose a Trust name that can conveniently appear on checks, titled deeds and bank accounts. For example, “Hernandez Trust” is less cumbersome than “The Robert V. and Patricia S. Hernandez Living Trust Fund.”

In Precepts, the rule of thumb in choosing a Trust name is

(i) The name of the Trust should not be too abbreviated.

(ii) To keep the Trust name within total characters not exceeding 30 spaces for the ease of opening and operating bank accounts and CPF/ Insurance nomination.

(iii) The name of the Trust should not carry an apostrophe [‘s] or any special symbol [+, -, @, #, $,*, %, !] to avoid any ambiguity and potential typographical errors. The symbol [&] which denotes ‘and’ is acceptable though not encouraged.

If the Settlor would like to keep his/ her Trust confidential, the name of the Trust can be any name not related to his/ her actual name subject to the above rules when choosing a Trust name.

Jenny Tan

AEPP®

Trust Manager Precepts Trustee Ltd

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