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PHOENIX – An Arizona law scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2004 that would require beneficiaries to be notified about trusts they have a stake in was recently stopped cold by legislators. The law will now go into effect Jan. 1, 2006. The state’s Revised Uniform Trust Code passed in May, would have expanded existing laws to clearly define the rights of beneficiaries regarding irrevocable trusts. The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws adopted the Code in 2000 to modernize the establishment of trusts, address appointment of trustees, outline the duties and powers of trustees and provide legal remedy for breach of duties. One key component of the law involves beneficiaries being more informed of trust matters. Beneficiaries were traditionally required to be given notice of the existence of the trust and any periodic accountings. Now, any qualified beneficiary would also receive notices and accountings including anyone who might receive benefits on the death of someone in the first category of beneficiaries named. For Arizona credit unions, adoption of the Code would mean they would have to accept a certification of trust instead of the actual trust agreement, said Paul Cruikshank, general counsel for the Arizona Credit Union League. “The primary purpose of this provision is to keep the depositive parts of the trust confidential,” Cruikshank said. “For instance, if Uncle Willie has $350,000, the trustee would not have to tell the credit union. If the trustee wants to provide that information, it would be voluntary.” Arizona was the fifth state to adopt the Code passed in 2000 and one of only two states to make the code retroactive so that it affects existing trusts as well as future trusts, according to the State Bar of Arizona probate and trust section. The two-year postponement will allow for further provisioning changes, legislators associated with the Code have said.

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