Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I. General Provisions and Definitions.


§ 19–1301.01. Short title.

This chapter may be cited as the “Uniform Trust Code”.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 101 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.02. Scope.

This chapter applies to express trusts, charitable or noncharitable, and trusts created pursuant to a statute, judgment, or decree that requires the trust to be administered in the manner of an express trust.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 102 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.03. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Action,” with respect to an act of a trustee, includes a failure to act.

(2) “Beneficiary” means a person that:

(A) Has a present or future beneficial interest in a trust, vested or contingent; or

(B) In a capacity other than that of trustee, holds a power of appointment over trust property.

(3) “Charitable trust” means a trust, or portion of a trust, created for a charitable purpose described in section 19-1304.05(a).

(4) “Conservator” means a person appointed by the court to administer the estate of a minor or adult individual.

(5) “Distributee” means a beneficiary who is currently entitled to receive a distribution from a trust.

(6) “Environmental law” means a federal, state, or local law, rule, regulation, or ordinance relating to protection of the environment.

(7) “Guardian” means a person appointed by the court, a parent, or a spouse to make decisions regarding the support, care, education, health, and welfare of a minor or adult individual. The term “guardian” does not include a guardian ad litem.

(8) “Interests of the beneficiaries” means the beneficial interests provided in the terms of the trust.

(9) “Jurisdiction,” with respect to a geographic area, includes a State or country.

(10) “Permissible distributee” means a beneficiary who is currently eligible to receive a distribution from a trust.

(11) “Person” means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, government; governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality; public corporation, or any other legal or commercial entity.

(12) “Power of withdrawal” means a presently exercisable general power of appointment other than a power exercisable only upon consent of the trustee or a person holding an adverse interest.

(13) “Property” means anything that may be the subject of ownership, whether real or personal, legal or equitable, or any interest therein.

(14) “Qualified beneficiary” means a beneficiary who, on the date the beneficiary’s qualification is determined:

(A) Is a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal;

(B) Would be a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal if the interests of the distributees described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph terminated on that date; or

(C) Would be a distributee or permissible distributee of trust income or principal if the trust terminated on that date.

(15) “Revocable,” as applied to a trust, means revocable by the settlor without the consent of a person holding an adverse interest.

(16) “Settlor” means a person, including a testator, who creates, or contributes property to, a trust. If more than one person creates or contributes property to a trust, each person is a settlor of the portion of the trust property attributable to that person’s contribution except to the extent another person has the power to revoke or withdraw that portion.

(17) “Settlor’s successors in interest” means the residuary beneficiaries under the settlor’s will, or if none, the settlor’s heirs.

(18) “Spendthrift provision” means a term of a trust which restrains both voluntary and involuntary transfer of a beneficiary’s interest.

(19) “State” means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term “state” includes an Indian tribe or band recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a State.

(20) “Terms of a trust” means the manifestation of the settlor’s intent regarding a trust’s provisions as expressed in the trust instrument or as may be established by other evidence that would be admissible in a judicial proceeding.

(21) “Trust instrument” means an instrument executed by the settlor that contains terms of the trust, including any amendments thereto.

(22) “Trustee” includes an original, additional, and successor trustee, and a cotrustee.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 103 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.04. Knowledge.

(a) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, a person has knowledge of a fact if the person:

(1) Has actual knowledge of it;

(2) Has received a notice or notification of it; or

(3) From all the facts and circumstances known to the person at the time in question, has reason to know it.

(b) An organization that conducts activities through employees has notice or knowledge of a fact involving a trust only from the time the information was received by an employee having responsibility to act for the trust, or would have been brought to the employee’s attention if the organization had exercised reasonable diligence. An organization exercises reasonable diligence if it maintains reasonable routines for communicating significant information to the employee having responsibility to act for the trust and there is reasonable compliance with the routines. Reasonable diligence does not require an employee of the organization to communicate information unless the communication is part of the individual’s regular duties or the individual knows a matter involving the trust would be materially affected by the information.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 104 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.05. Default and mandatory rules.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the trust, this chapter governs the duties and powers of a trustee, relations among trustees, and the rights and interests of a beneficiary.

(b) The terms of a trust prevail over any provision of this chapter except:

(1) The requirements for creating a trust;

(2) The duty of a trustee to act in good faith and in accordance with the purposes of the trust;

(3) The requirement that a trust and its terms be for the benefit of its beneficiaries, and that the trust have a purpose that is lawful, not contrary to public policy, and possible to achieve;

(4) The power of the court to modify or terminate a trust under sections 19-1304.10 through 19-1304.16;

(5) The effect of a spendthrift provision and the rights of certain creditors and assignees to reach a trust as provided in subchapter V of this chapter;

(6) The power of the court under section 19-1307.02 to require, dispense with, or modify or terminate a bond;

(7) The power of the court under section 19-1307.08(b) to adjust a trustee’s compensation specified in the terms of the trust which is unreasonably low or high;

(8) Subject to subsection (c) of this section, the duty under section 19-1308.13(b)(2) and (3) to notify qualified beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust who have attained 25 years of age of the existence of the trust, the identity of the trustee, and their right to request the trustee’s reports;

(9) Subject to subsection (c) of this section, the duty under section 19-1308.13(a) to respond to the request of a beneficiary of an irrevocable trust for trustee’s reports and other information reasonably related to the administration of a trust;

(10) The effect of an exculpatory term under section 19-1310.08;

(11) The rights under sections 19-1310.10 through 19-1310.13 of a person other than a trustee or beneficiary;

(12) Periods of limitation for commencing a judicial proceeding; and

(13) The power of the court to take such action and exercise such jurisdiction as may be necessary in the interests of justice.

(c) The settlor, in the trust instrument or in another writing delivered to the trustee, may waive or modify the duties of a trustee under section 19-1308.13 to give notice, information, and reports to beneficiaries by:

(1) Waiving or modifying such duties during the lifetime of the settlor or the lifetime of the settlor’s surviving spouse;

(2) Specifying a different age at which a beneficiary or class of beneficiaries must be notified under section 19-1308.13(b)(2) and (3); or

(3) Designating a person or persons to act in good faith to protect the interests of beneficiaries, to receive any notice, information, or reports required under section 19-1308.13 in lieu of providing such notice, information, or reports to the beneficiaries.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 105 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.06. Common law of trusts; principles of equity.

The common law of trusts and principles of equity supplement this chapter, except to the extent modified by this chapter or another statute of the District of Columbia.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 106 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.07. Governing law.

The meaning and effect of the terms of a trust are determined by:

(1) The law of the jurisdiction designated in the terms unless the designation of that jurisdiction’s law is contrary to a strong public policy of the jurisdiction having the most significant relationship to the matter at issue; or

(2) In the absence of a controlling designation in the terms of the trust, the law of the jurisdiction having the most significant relationship to the matter at issue.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 107 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.08. Principal place of administration.

(a) Without precluding other means for establishing a sufficient connection with the designated jurisdiction, terms of a trust designating the principal place of administration are valid and controlling if:

(1) A trustee’s principal place of business is located in or a trustee is a resident of the designated jurisdiction; or

(2) All or part of the administration occurs in the designated jurisdiction.

(b) A trustee is under a continuing duty to administer the trust at a place appropriate to its purposes, its administration, and the interests of the beneficiaries.

(c) Without precluding the right of the court to order, approve, or disapprove a transfer, the trustee, in furtherance of the duty prescribed by subsection (b) of this section, may transfer the trust’s principal place of administration to another State or to a jurisdiction outside of the United States.

(d) The trustee shall notify the qualified beneficiaries of a proposed transfer of a trust’s principal place of administration not less than 60 days before initiating the transfer. The notice of proposed transfer must include:

(1) The name of the jurisdiction to which the principal place of administration is to be transferred;

(2) The address and telephone number at the new location at which the trustee can be contacted;

(3) An explanation of the reasons for the proposed transfer;

(4) The date on which the proposed transfer is anticipated to occur; and

(5) The date, not less than 60 days after the giving of the notice, by which the qualified beneficiary must notify the trustee of an objection to the proposed transfer.

(e) The authority of a trustee under this section to transfer a trust’s principal place of administration terminates if a qualified beneficiary notifies the trustee of an objection to the proposed transfer on or before the date specified in the notice.

(f) In connection with a transfer of the trust’s principal place of administration, the trustee may transfer some or all of the trust property to a successor trustee designated in the terms of the trust or appointed pursuant to section 19-1307.04.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 108 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.09. Methods and waiver of notice.

(a) Notice to a person under this chapter or the sending of a document to a person under this chapter must be accomplished in a manner reasonably suitable under the circumstances and likely to result in receipt of the notice or document. Permissible methods of notice or for sending a document include first-class mail, personal delivery, delivery to the person’s last known place of residence or place of business, or a properly directed electronic message.

(b) Notice otherwise required under this chapter or a document otherwise required to be sent under this chapter need not be provided to a person whose identity or location is unknown to and not reasonably ascertainable by the trustee.

(c) Notice under this chapter or the sending of a document under this chapter may be waived by the person to be notified or sent the document.

(d) Notice of a judicial proceeding must be given as provided in the applicable rules of civil procedure.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 109 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.10. Others treated as qualified beneficiaries.

(a) Whenever notice to qualified beneficiaries of a trust is required under this chapter, the trustee must also give notice to any other beneficiary who has sent the trustee a request for notice.

(b) A charitable organization expressly designated to receive distributions under the terms of a charitable trust or a person appointed to enforce a trust created for the care of an animal or another noncharitable purpose as provided in section 19-1304.08 or section 19-1304.09 has the rights of a qualified beneficiary under this chapter.

(c) The Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia has the rights of a qualified beneficiary with respect to a charitable trust having its principal place of administration in the District of Columbia.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 110 of the Uniform Trust Code.


§ 19–1301.11. Nonjudicial settlement agreements.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “interested persons” means persons whose consent would be required in order to achieve a binding settlement were the settlement to be approved by the court.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) of this section, interested persons may enter into a binding nonjudicial settlement agreement with respect to any matter involving a trust.

(c) A nonjudicial settlement agreement is valid only to the extent it does not violate a material purpose of the trust and includes terms and conditions that could be properly approved by the court under this chapter or other applicable law.

(d) Matters that may be resolved by a nonjudicial settlement agreement include:

(1) The interpretation or construction of the terms of the trust;

(2) The approval of a trustee’s report or accounting;

(3) Direction to a trustee to refrain from performing a particular act or the grant to a trustee of any necessary or desirable power;

(4) The resignation or appointment of a trustee and the determination of a trustee’s compensation;

(5) Transfer of a trust’s principal place of administration; and

(6) Liability of a trustee for an action relating to the trust.

(e) Any interested person may request the court to approve a nonjudicial settlement agreement, to determine whether the representation as provided in subchapter III of this chapter was adequate, and to determine whether the agreement contains terms and conditions the court could have properly approved.


(Mar. 10, 2004, D.C. Law 15-104, § 2(b), 51 DCR 208.)

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 111 of the Uniform Trust Code.