RC 2125.03(A)(2) allows a Wrongful Death Trust to be established in the Probate Court for a beneficiary who is under 25 years of age or an incompetent adult, with money received in an action for wrongful death under ORC 2125.01 and 2125.02.
The Guardian of the estate or of the person and estate of the ward, who has received funds as a result of a wrongful death award or settlement, may apply to the Probate Court to create and approve a Wrongful Death Trust for the ward. The Applicant must state that it would be in the ward’s best interest to create the trust and provide the reasoning for that assertion.
A bonded Trustee is appointed to administer the trust, unless the bond is waived according to law (funds placed in restricted access account in lieu of bond). An adult beneficiary or the guardian of the estate of a minor beneficiary must consent to the appointment of the trustee.
Upon appointment by the Court, the Trustee is given Letters of Authority and completes a Trustee’s Inventory.
The Trustee manages the trust in accordance with the trust agreement. This includes instructions for dispersing property from the trust. Typically, no disbursements can be made from the trust without Probate Court approval.
A yearly accounting for the trust property is completed by the Trustee and filed with the Probate Court.
Items necessary to file a Wrongful Death Trust:
- An unsigned copy of the Trust in DRAFT form;
- Copy of Driver’s License or Government issued picture ID of the Applicant;
- Completion of Court’s forms required for completion of a background check of Applicant;
- Original birth certificate for the trust beneficiary (the court will copy it and return the original);
- The base court cost deposit is one hundred twenty dollars ($120.00), cash, check, or credit card (subject to a convenience fee); and
- Complete the Probate Forms listed below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Wrongful Death Trust?
A Wrongful Death Trust is established by the Court as a result of a settlement of a wrongful death claim when there are funds passing to a minor, or an incompetent adult. It is necessary to receive and manage the settlement funds for the benefit of the child until the child attains age 25, or indefinitely for an incompetent adult. The Court appoints the trustee and establishes the terms of the trust. See the “Estates – Wrongful Death Cases” and “Minor’s Claim/Funds” sections of this website for additional discussions relevant to this topic.