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Maryland enacted its version of the Uniform Trust Code (“UTC”) when Governor O’Malley signed into law the Maryland Trust Act (“MTA”).  The MTA took effect on January 1, 2015.  Although many of the modifications to Maryland law are very technical, the MTA largely codifies existing Maryland common law of trusts and makes clear the rights of trust beneficiaries and creditors as well as the powers and duties of trustees.  

Specifically, the MTA modifies the powers and duties of trustees and, to some degree, increases their responsibilities, including provisions regarding a trustee’s duty to inform and to report to beneficiaries. These new burdens placed on Trustees are additions to Maryland trust law and will likely impact both existing trusts as well as trusts created in the future. 

The MTA provisions will likely apply to all trustees of Irrevocable Trusts who agree to serve on or after January 1, 2015, even if the trust was created prior to that date. This means that a trustee will likely be subject to the new notice and reporting requirements. 

Some responsibilities include:

  • The duty to notify qualified beneficiaries of a trust’s existence and the beneficiary’s right to request a copy of the trust instrument;
  • The affirmative duty to notify qualified beneficiaries within 60 days of acceptance to a trustship; and
  • The prompt response to a qualified beneficiary’s request for information related to the administration of the trust.

Given the new burdens placed on trustees, it is foreseeable that many individuals may hesitate to serve in the future. As a result, it is especially important to review your existing estate planning documents to ensure that you have named fiduciaries who are willing to comply with the new reporting requirements. 

If you have any questions regarding the Maryland Trust Act or other estate planning matters, please contact one of the attorneys in our estates and trusts department at (301) 340-2020. 


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