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Does a Trust Have to Be Signed by Two Witnesses?

In New York, a trust does not have to be signed by two witnesses. But it could be. A trust does need to be signed by the person making the trust and by the trustee. Sometimes that’s the same person. A trust has to be acknowledged in the same manner required to execute a deed.

EPTL 7-1.17 states that “Every lifetime trust shall be in writing and shall be executed and acknowledged by the person establishing such trust and, unless such person is the sole trustee, by at least one trustee thereof, in the manner required by the laws of this state for the recording of a conveyance of real property or, in lieu thereof, executed in the presence of two witnesses who shall affix their signatures to the trust instrument.”

Acknowledgement means having a notarized statement that looks something like this:

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On the ____ day of _____________in the year 20___, before me, the undersigned, personally appeared (INSERT NAME OF SIGNER), personally known to me or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the individual whose name is subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that (s)he executed the same in his/her capacity, and that by his/her signature on the instrument, the individual, or the person upon behalf of which the individual acted, executed the instrument.
Notary Public

If you need to draft a trust, contact New York trust lawyer Albert Goodwin, Esq. You can call me at (212) 233-1233 or send me an email.