Why States Should Adopt UCTA

The Uniform Custodial Trust Act (UCTA), promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1987, offers everyone a chance to establish a kind of trust that guarantees control of property at a time when a person becomes incapacitat-ed, and that may also be used to pass on property at death without probate. The act is designed to offer a new, very simplified custodial trust, making the benefits of trusts available to people without extensive financial assets.

The UCTA was inspired by the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, and the highly useful concept of a custodian for property of a minor under the terms of that act. But why should minors be the only beneficiaries of a good idea?

There are many reasons why every state should consider and adopt the Uniform Custodial Trust Act.


A custodial trust is inexpensive to create. Fees for consultation and drafting will be minimum - and non-existent in many cases. In addition, the UCTA provides an alternative to a costly court-supervised conservator or guardian. It can be used to avoid the costs and delays of probate proceedings at death. Economies can accrue broadly with the use of custodial trusts.


A custodial trust can be set up by simple language referenc-ing the statute. No elaborate trust document is necessary. Rights and obligation are derived directly from the statute.


Any person who creates a custodial trust retains complete control over it until incapacity or death. The named trustee manages the property in the case of incapacity, but until then, control remains with the beneficiary - the creator of the trust. The beneficiary directs the management of the property, receives income and principal, and can cancel the trust at any time.


Any kind of property, real or personal, tangible or intangi-ble, can be put in a custodial trust. Anybody can be made a beneficiary. Any legally competent person or entity can be appointed as trustee.

The Uniform Custodial Trust Act is simple, inexpensive, comprehensive, and complete. The most frequent users of this trust will most likely be senior citizens who want to provide for the management of assets in the event of future incapacity. It is also available for a parent to establish a custodial trust for an adult child who may be incapacitated. Those leaving the country temporarily can also place their property with another for management without relinquishing permanent control of their property.

The Uniform Custodial Trust Act should be adopted in every state. Although it meshes with the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), it is appropriate in states which have not adopted the UPC.