January 28th, 2019 at 10:29 am

Question: In last week’s legal tip, you gave us a 4-step approach as one possible way for completing a trust listing agreement. Step 1 was to insert, for example, “Martin King, trustee” as the seller. Step 2 was to check the Representative Capacity box above his signature line. Step 3 was to attach a Representative Capacity Signature Disclosure (RCSD-S). Step 4 was to obtain a copy of his trust certificate as soon as possible. Before reading your legal tip, I had just entered into a trust listing agreement. For Step 1, I inserted the name of the trust instead of the trustee as the seller, but I had the trustee sign her own name in the signature line followed by the word “trustee.” I didn’t do Steps 2, 3, or 4. I don’t have a buyer yet. Should I redo the listing agreement?

Answer: No, just revise it. As I mentioned in last week’s legal tip, the proper way for a trustee to sign on behalf of a trust is to sign his or her name followed by the words “as trustee of” and then the full name of the trust. This is required every time the trustee signs a document. Alternatively, to use the abbreviated signature of just “Martin King, trustee,” you should check the “Representative Capacity” box above the signature line in the listing agreement, and attach the RCSD-S. It is the language in the “Representative Capacity” box that provides that the abbreviated signature of just “Martin King, trustee” shall be deemed to be Mr. Martin’s signature in his representative capacity as trustee of his trust.

You may revise the listing agreement by using C.A.R.’s standard-form Modification of Terms (MT), and attaching a completed RCSD-S. In the MT form, you may state as follows: “Representative Capacity box above Seller’s signature on page 5 of the Agreement is deemed to be checked. Attached Representative Capacity Signature Disclosure is incorporated into the Agreement.”

Be sure to also complete Step 4 by getting a copy of the Certification of Trust from the trustee.

-Thank you to Rhea Willoughby (La Jolla Prospect Office) for suggesting this week’s legal tip.

Copyright© 2019 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP). All rights reserved. Any unauthorized reproduction or use of this material is strictly prohibited. This information is believed to be accurate as of January 28, 2019. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice in individual situations, and is not intended to nor does it create a standard of care for real estate professionals.

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