Trustee Duties in Settling and Closing Out a Trust

HNWUnderstanding When a Trust Should Be Used in NJ

  • In New Jersey, a trustee may close out and finalize a trust by filing an Action for the Settlement of Accounts with the Superior Court.
  • A trustee settles an account by filing a complaint and accounting with the Superior Court Chancery Division, pursuant to N.J.S.A. § 3B:17-3 and R. 4:87.

Trust lawAlthough N.J.S.A. § 3B:23-24 requires a release and refunding bond from each beneficiary to close out an estate, there is no such requirement for trustees.  Instead, a complaint may be filed at least twenty days “prior to the day on which the trust account is to be settled.”  R. 4:87-2.  Additionally, it must include an accounting, which contains the balance of the trust corpus, any changes in the assets or investments, the allocation of expenses, and a computation of the requested commission.  NJC R. 4:87-3.

There is an exception to this rule for trustees that have been discharged from this responsibility by their beneficiaries.  N.J.S.A. § 3B:17-1; R. 4:87-9.  A trustee does not need to file an accounting with the court to close out a trust if they instead file a written release from their beneficiaries, so long as the beneficiaries “[have] reached majority and [are] not incapacitated.”  N.J.S.A. § 3B:17-1; R. 4:87-9.  Otherwise, a trustee must file an Action for the Settlement of Accounts with the Superior Court to close out a trust, unless the trustee has been released from this responsibility by their beneficiaries.

To discuss your NJ trust matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County,

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