Massachusetts law about trusts

Laws, cases, and web sources on the law of trusts in Massachusetts. Trusts can be used for estate planning, asset protection, limiting taxes, and other special purposes. It may be helpful to use an attorney when choosing and devising a trust document.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 203 Trusts

MGL c. 203C Prudent investment

MGL c. 184, § 35 Trustee’s certificate, requirements, effects
Describes the instrument that must be recorded in the Registry of Deeds when real estate is transferred by a trustee.

Uniform Probate Code, MGL c. 190B (MUPC)
Requires trustees to notify beneficiaries of accounting and much more. 

Uniform Trust Code, MGL c. 203E


Massachusetts trust court forms 
A collection of court forms related to wills, estates, and trusts for use in Probate and Family Court sorted by subject.

Selected cases

Guilfoil v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 486 Mass. 788 (2021)
Explains the difference between a nominee trust and a true trust. “(T)he retention of a life estate in a primary residence by an applicant for Medicaid benefits did not render the property a countable asset.”

In the Matter of the Estate of Theresa A. Jablonski, 492 Mass. 687 (2023)
A case regarding pet trusts, and how to resolve ambiguity when the pet dies before the testator.

Morse v. Kraft, 466 Mass. 92 (2013)
Explains the concept of decanting trusts. "The sole and disinterested trustee of an irrevocable trust could distribute the trust property in further trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries without their consent or approval, and without the consent or approval of a court, where the trust's broad grant of almost unlimited discretion evidenced the settlor's intent that the disinterested trustee have the authority to do so; further, there was no need to appoint a guardian ad litem in the matter."

Web sources

Common types of trusts, Findlaw. 
Definitions of different types of trusts, including revocable and irrevocable trusts.

The Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code: Context, content, and critique by Courtney J. Maloney and Charles E. Rounds, Jr., Mass. Law Review, February 2015, JD Supra.
This lengthy article discusses the MUTC in detail, including discussion of pre-existing Massachusetts laws which are neither folded into the MUTC nor repealed.

Trust reformations: Bosch litigation
Procedure for Probate and Family Court. The resolution of these cases is meant to assist the parties in their dealings with the Internal Revenue Service by deciding a matter of state law that will be binding on federal authorities.

Trustee removal: MUTC v. Trust Document, JDSupra, 2023.
Discusses removal of trustees when the trust document conflicts with the Mass. Uniform Trust Code.

Print sources

Domestic asset protection trusts: a practice and resource manual by Alexander A. Bove, Jr., American Bar Association, 2021.

Drafting irrevocable trusts in Massachusetts, 3rd ed., MCLE, 2023.

Drafting wills and trusts in Massachusetts, 6th ed., MCLE, 2023. 

Flexible trusts and estates for uncertain times, 7th ed., by Jerold I. Horn, American Bar Association, 2021.

Implementation of special needs, pooled disability, pet & gun trusts, MCLE, 2017.

The law of trusts and trustees, 3rd ed., by George Gleason Bogert, West, with supplement.
Together with the rev. 2nd ed., a 21 volume treatise covering the entire field of modern trust uses.

The law of trusts and trustees, rev. 2nd ed., by George Gleason Bogert, West, with supplement.
Together with the rev. 3rd ed., a 21 volume treatise covering the entire field of modern trust uses.

Loring and Rounds : a trustee's handbook, annual, by Charles E. Rounds, Wolters Kluwer. 
A one volume treatise.

Make your own living trust by Denis Clifford, Nolo, 2023. (eBook available with library card).

Probate law and practice with forms, 3rd ed. (Mass Practice v.21-22) Thomson Reuters, 2019 with supplements. Part III, Trusts, chapters 37-42.

Real estate law, with forms, 5th ed. (Mass. practice v. 28), Thomson Reuters, annual. Section 4:15 Types of deeds – Trustee’s deeds. Forms for trustee's certificates are located in sections 37.20. 37.21 and 37.22.

Special needs trusts, Aspen Publishers, loose-leaf.

Special needs trusts : protect your child's financial future by Kevin Urbatsch, Nolo, 2021. (2023 eBook available with library card).

The trustee's legal companion by Liza Hanks, Nolo, 2021. (2023 eBook available with library card).

Trusts 101 by Shelley D. Coelho, National Business Institute, 2021.

Understanding and using trusts, 5th ed., MCLE, 2022. 

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Last updated: June 6, 2024

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