Testamentary Trust

A Testamentary Trust is established through a Last Will and Testament of a decedent that has been admitted to probate in this county. In this Court, it is administered as a separate case file.

It is the responsibility of the estate fiduciary or the estate fiduciary’s attorney to file the necessary pleadings with the Court to establish the case file and secure the Court’s appointment of the testamentary trustee.  In an estate in which a will creates a testamentary trust to which assets pass from the estate or other beneficiary designation, the estate will not be closed until the testamentary trustee has been appointed and any assets passing from the estate are distributed to the testamentary trustee.

If the dispositive provisions of the decedent’s will leave separate shares in trust to multiple individuals (rather than a gift to a class of individuals with a single pool of assets to be managed for the mutual benefit of the class), an individual trust case file shall be opened to administer each separate share of the overall trust.

Items Necessary to File a Testamentary Trust Case:

  1. A certified copy of the Will creating the testamentary trust;
  2. Application for Appointment and Trustee’s Acceptance;
  3. The base court cost deposit as listed in Appendix A of Local Rules of Court; 
  4. Adequate bond if not waived in the will, or if the trustee is a non-resident;
  5. A listing of the names and addresses of the trust beneficiaries and the trustee, including the birth date of each individual beneficiary who is then under the age established in the trust for final distribution; and
  6. All other requirements as listed on the Court’s Checklist shown below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Court’s Role in a Testamentary Trust?

A testamentary trust is one that is created through the decedent’s will and come into existence as a result of the death.  The probate court has exclusive jurisdiction to construe the trust and to direct, control, supervise and review the administration of the trust by the testamentary trustee.  The trustee is accountable to the Court, as well as the trust beneficiaries and accountings of receipts and distributions are filed with the Court.  The trust terminates pursuant to the terms of the decedent’s will or upon court order when the purposes of the trust no longer are being served through the trust, or when its assets fall below certain financial minimums and termination would not defeat the purposes for its creation.

Standard Probate Forms 

For all Standard Probate Forms click here.

For Checklists and Forms exclusive to Shelby County Probate Court, see the forms section below.


Trust Checklist

Fee Waiver Affidavit & Order

Application for Appointment of a Trustee

Trust Beneficiaries

Consent to Appointment of Trustee

Fiduciary's Acceptance (Trustee)

Entry Appointing Trustee Letters of Authority

Application for Release of Funds into Custodial Depository in Lieu of bond

Entry Releasing Funds to Custodial Account

Verification of Receipt and Deposit

Affidavit Finding One and The Same Person

Entry Finding One and the Same Person

Application & Entry Extending Time for Filing

Trustee's Inventory

Trustee's Account

Entry Setting Hearing on Account

Receipts and Disbursements

Assets Remaining in Trustee's Hands

Certificate of Service of Notice of Filing Trustee's Account

Affidavit of Service of Notice of Hearing

Resignation of Fiduciary

Entry Accepting Resignation of Fiduciary

Confidential Disclosure of Personal Identifiers (Form 45D)

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