Colorado law – trust registration

Posted by: Mar 22, 2014By Brian Stutheit

In the following discussion, a reference to C.R.S. means Colorado Revised Statutes, law created by the legislature.  The symbol, “§”, is lawyer shorthand for “section”.

Colorado has a statute which says the trustee of a trust having its principal place of administration in Colorado shall, within thirty days after his or her acceptance of the trust, register the trust in the court of this state at the principal place of administration. Unless otherwise designated in the trust instrument, the principal place of administration of a trust is the trustee’s usual place of business where the records pertaining to the trust are kept or at the trustee’s residence, if he has no such place of business.

The court where one registers a trust is the District Court, except in Denver where it is the Denver Probate Court. The Colorado statutes provide specific instructions how to register a trust at C.R.S.§ 15-16-102. It is not enough to go to court and register the trust. The trustee also has a legal duty to tell beneficiaries where the trust is registered, and where the trustee is located. C.R.S.§ 15-16-303.

A trustee who fails to register a trust in a proper place, for purposes of any proceedings initiated by a beneficiary of the trust prior to registration, is subject to the personal jurisdiction of any court in which the trust could have been registered. In addition, any trustee who, within thirty days after receipt of a written demand by a settlor (the creator of the trust) or beneficiary of the trust, fails to register a trust as required is subject to removal and denial of compensation or to surcharge as the court may direct. The court may review the propriety of employment of any person by a trustee including any attorney, auditor, investment advisor, or other assistant, and the reasonableness of the compensation of any person so employed, and the reasonableness of the compensation determined by the trustee for his own services.

Even trusts for pets must be registered.  C.R.S. § 15-11-901.