How do you create a trust in Michigan?

In Michigan, there are many types of trusts.  Each has a specific purpose that may or may not apply to your situation.  The best way to find out if you need a trust in Michigan is to discuss your goals with an experienced estate planning attorney.  After you decided on a trust the next thing you need to know is how to create a valid trust under Michigan Law.  Michigan follows the MTC or Michigan Trust Code.  Here is the link for the MTC: click here.

Basic Requirements to Create a Trust in Michigan

1.  Present Intent

The person creating the trust, known as the grantor, must intend to create the trust at the present time.  Planning to create a trust at a later time is not sufficient.  The granter has to want to create the trust and does so at the present time.

2.  Naming a Trustee

The grantor has to name a trustee.  A trustee is the person who takes care of the trust assets.  This is the person who follows the rules laid out in the trust itself.

3.  Funding the Trust

The trust has to be funded.  This means that some property or assets need to become trust property so that the Trustee can manage those assets.  This could be money, real estate, collectibles, almost anything that has value.

4.  Named Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries must be named.  Beneficiaries are the people who will get something from the trust.  This could be the grantor, or person creating a trust, in a revocable grantor trust.  This could also be a friend, family member, or charity.  The point is that the trust needs to benefit someone so a beneficiary or beneficiaries must be named.

5.  Reason for the Trust

The trust must have a legal purpose.  You have to have a good reason for having a trust that is not against public policy.  An example would be to have greater control over your assets so that you can distribute them to your loved ones.  Another examples is to benefit your family or children and avoiding probate.


Now you know the five basic elements for creating a trust under Michigan law, please be aware that failing to meet any of these elements may make the trust invalid.  This can lead to trust challenges, and court battles.

I draft wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents for clients in Ann Arbor, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Manchester, Milan, Ypsilanti, Plymouth, Northville, Brighton, Howell, or in the surrounding Washtenaw, Wayne, Livingston, and Jackson Counties.  Don’t hesitate to call me so we can discuss your estate planning needs.