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How to Close a Family Trust

When a family trust is no longer needed, it's a fairly simple matter for the trustee to close it. A trust exists as an entity--almost like a person--and has a separate Employer ID Number for use on tax forms and in business transactions. When a trust is ended, the trustee must take actions that mirror those of the next of kin when a person dies: forms must be filed and the IRS must be notified. Once the trust is closed and all the assets are gone, it ceases to exist and the trustee is done.

Distribute all the assets of the trust, except what you'll need to pay the last tax bill. Before you can close the trust, it needs to be empty. The trust will have instructions about how assets should be distributed.

File an IRS Form 1041. A link is provided in the Resources section of this article. Fill it out completely, being sure to check the "Final Return" box in section F. Checking this box indicates that there will be no more returns from the trust and that all the assets have been distributed.

Write a check to settle the trust's tax debt to the IRS and send it in with the final return.

Write a letter to the IRS explaining that the trust is closed and that the EIN applied to it will no longer be used. Send the letter to:

Internal Revenue Service

Attn: EO Entity

Mail Stop 6273

Ogden, UT 84201

You do not have to expressly close your EIN account, but it will prevent anyone from doing business in the name of the trust and can protect you from fraud.