Uniform Trust Code Law and Legal Definition

The Uniform Trust Code or (UTC) is a model code for states to use to create a uniform, comprehensive, easy-to-find body of trust law. With some exceptions, it is generally a default statute or is used to supplement and revise state’s existing laws concerning trusts. UTC was written by the Uniform Law Commissioners, part of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, in 2000. It was last amended in 2005. It is approved by the American Bar Association, American Bankers Association as well as the AARP.

At present some form of the UTC is adopted in the following 22 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming; plus the District of Columbia. Four additional states have introduced bills to adopt it and several other states are reviewing the bill.

For example, on April 1, 2010, the Michigan Trust Code (MTC) came into force, updating Michigan's law regarding trusts. The new Michigan Code displaces Article VII of Michigan’s Estates and Protected Individuals Code. The new laws were created to:

Codify a substantial portion of Michigan’s common law regarding trusts;

Fill gaps in Michigan's existing trust law; and

Provide a comprehensive body of law that individuals and attorneys can use in estate planning and the creation of trusts.

The MTC will apply to all trusts, regardless of whether they were created before the MTC takes effect. Because the MTC is basically a set of “default” rules, a settlor has the ability to craft a trust that best reflects his or her wishes and avoid the application of much, but not all, of the MTC. The Michigan Trust Code relies upon the structure and provisions of the Uniform Trust Code as the starting point for many of its provisions.