Powers of Fiduciaries.
§ 32-25. Definition.
As used in this Article, the term "fiduciary" means the one or more executors of the estate of a decedent, or the one or more trustees of a testamentary or inter vivos trust estate, whichever in a particular case shall be appropriate. (1965, c. 628, s. 1.)
§ 32-26. Incorporation by reference of powers enumerated in § 32-27; restriction on exercise of such powers.
(a) By an express intention of the testator or settlor so to do contained in a will, or in an instrument in writing whereby a trust estate is created inter vivos, any or all of the powers or any portion thereof enumerated in G.S. 32-27, as they exist at the time of the signing of the will by the testator or at the time of the signing by the first settlor who signs the trust instrument, may be, by appropriate reference made thereto, incorporated in such will or other written instrument, with the same effect as though such language were set forth verbatim in the instrument. Incorporation of one or more of the powers contained in G.S. 32-27 by reference to that section shall be in addition to and not in limitation of the common law or statutory powers of the fiduciary.
(b) No power of authority conferred upon a fiduciary as provided in this Article shall be exercised by such fiduciary in such a manner as, in the aggregate, to deprive the trust or the estate involved of an otherwise available tax exemption, deduction or credit, expressly including the marital deduction, or operate to impose a tax upon a donor or testator or other person as owner of any portion of the trust or estate involved. "Tax" includes, but is not limited to, any federal, State, or local income, gift, estate or inheritance tax.
(c) Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the incorporation of the powers enumerated in G.S. 32-27 in any other kind of instrument or agreement. (1965, c. 628, s. 1.)
The following powers may be incorporated by reference as provided in G.S. 32-26:
(1) Retain Original Property. - To retain for such time as the fiduciary shall deem advisable any property, real or personal, which the fiduciary may receive, even though the retention of such property by reason of its character, amount, proportion to the total estate or otherwise would not be appropriate for the fiduciary apart from this provision.
(2) Sell and Exchange Property. - To sell, exchange, give options upon, partition or otherwise dispose of any property or interest therein which the fiduciary may hold from time to time, with or without order of court, at public or private sale or otherwise, upon such terms and conditions, including credit, and for such consideration as the fiduciary shall deem advisable, and to transfer and convey the property or interest therein which is at the disposal of the fiduciary, in fee simple absolute or otherwise, free of all trust; and the party dealing with the fiduciary shall not be under a duty to follow the proceeds or other consideration received by the fiduciary from such sale or exchange.
(3) Invest and Reinvest. - To invest and reinvest, as the fiduciary shall deem advisable, in stocks (common or preferred), bonds, debentures, notes, mortgages or other securities, in or outside the United States; in insurance contracts on the life of any beneficiary or of any person in whom a beneficiary has an insurable interest, or in annuity contracts for any beneficiary, in any real or personal property, in investment trusts; in participations in common trust funds, and generally in such property as the fiduciary shall deem advisable, even though such investment shall not be of the character approved by applicable law but for this provision.
(4) Invest without Diversification. - To make investments which cause a greater proportion of the total property held by the fiduciary to be invested in investments of one type or of one company than would be considered appropriate for the fiduciary apart from this provision.
(5) Continue Business. - To the extent and upon such terms and conditions and for such periods of time as the fiduciary shall deem necessary or advisable, to continue or participate in the operation of any business or other enterprise, whatever its form of organization, including but not limited to the power:
a. To effect incorporation, dissolution, or other change in the form of the organization of the business or enterprise;
b. To dispose of any interest therein or acquire the interest of others therein;
c. To contribute thereto or invest therein additional capital or to lend money thereto, in any such case upon such terms and conditions as the fiduciary shall approve from time to time;
d. To determine whether the liabilities incurred in the conduct of the business are to be chargeable solely to the part of the estate or trust set aside for use in the business or to the estate or trust as a whole; and
e. In all cases in which the fiduciary is required to file accounts in any court or in any other public office, it shall not be necessary to itemize receipts and disbursements and distributions of property but it shall be sufficient for the fiduciary to show in the account a single figure or consolidation of figures, and the fiduciary shall be permitted to account for money and property received from the business and any payments made to the business in lump sum without itemization.
(6) Form Corporation or Other Entity. - To form a corporation or other entity and to transfer, assign, and convey to such corporation or entity all or any part of the estate or of any trust property in exchange for the stock, securities or obligations of any such corporation or entity, and to continue to hold such stock and securities and obligations.
(7) Operate Farm. - To continue any farming operation received by the fiduciary pursuant to the will or other instrument and to do any and all things deemed advisable by the fiduciary in the management and maintenance of such farm and the production and marketing of crops and dairy, poultry, livestock, orchard and forest products including but not limited to the following powers:
a. To operate the farm with hired labor, tenants or sharecroppers;
b. To lease or rent the farm for cash or for a share of the crops;
c. To purchase or otherwise acquire farm machinery and equipment and livestock;
d. To construct, repair, and improve farm buildings of all kinds needed in the fiduciary's judgment, for the operation of the farm;
e. To make or obtain loans or advances at the prevailing rate or rates of interest for farm purposes such as for production, harvesting, or marketing, or for the construction, repair, or improvement of farm buildings, or for the purchase of farm machinery or equipment or livestock;
f. To employ approved soil conservation practices in order to conserve, improve, and maintain the fertility and productivity of the soil;
g. To protect, manage and improve the timber and forest on the farm and sell the timber and forest products when it is to the best interest of the estate;
h. To ditch, dam and drain damp or wet fields and areas of the farm when and where needed;
i. To engage in the production of livestock, poultry or dairy products, and to construct such fences and buildings and plant such pastures and crops as may be necessary to carry on such operations;
j. To market the products of the farm; and
k. In general, to employ good husbandry in the farming operation.
(8) Manage Real Property. -
a. To improve, manage, protect, and subdivide any real property;
b. To dedicate or withdraw from dedication parks, streets, highways, or alleys;
c. To terminate any subdivision or part thereof;
d. To borrow money for the purposes authorized by this subdivision for such periods of time and upon such terms and conditions as to rates, maturities and renewals as the fiduciary shall deem advisable and to mortgage or otherwise encumber any such property or part thereof, whether in possession or reversion;
e. To lease any such property or part thereof to commence at the present or in the future, upon such terms and conditions, including options to renew or purchase, and for such period or periods of time as the fiduciary deems advisable although such period or periods may extend beyond the duration of the trust or the administration of the estate involved;
f. To make gravel, sand, oil, gas and other mineral leases, contracts, licenses, conveyances or grants of every nature and kind which are lawful in the jurisdiction in which such property lies;
g. To manage and improve timber and forests on such property, to sell the timber and forest products, and to make grants, leases, and contracts with respect thereto;
h. To modify, renew or extend leases;
i. To employ agents to rent and collect rents;
j. To create easements and release, convey, or assign any right, title, or interest with respect to any easement on such property or part thereof;
k. To erect, repair or renovate any building or other improvement on such property, and to remove or demolish any building or other improvement in whole or in part; and
l. To deal with any such property and every part thereof in all other ways and for such other purposes or considerations as it would be lawful for any person owning the same to deal with such property either in the same or in different ways from those specified elsewhere in this subdivision (8).
(8a) Comply with environmental law. -
a. To inspect property held by the fiduciary, including interests in sole proprietorships, partnerships, or corporations and any assets owned by any such business enterprise, for the purpose of determining compliance with environmental law affecting such property and to respond to any actual or threatened violation of any environmental law affecting property held by the fiduciary;
b. To take, on behalf of the estate or trust, any action necessary to prevent, abate, or otherwise remedy any actual or threatened violation of any environmental law affecting property held by the fiduciary, either before or after the initiation of an enforcement action by any governmental body;
c. To refuse to accept property in trust if the fiduciary determines that any property to be donated to the trust either is contaminated by any hazardous substance or is being used or has been used for any activity directly or indirectly involving hazardous substance which could result in liability to the trust or otherwise impair the value of the assets held therein;
d. To settle or compromise at any time any and all claims against the trust or estate which may be asserted by any governmental body or private party involving the alleged violation of any environmental law affecting property held in trust or in an estate;
e. To disclaim any power granted by any document, statute, or rule of law which, in the sole discretion of the fiduciary, may cause the fiduciary to incur personal liability under any environmental law;
f. To decline to serve as a fiduciary if the fiduciary reasonably believes that there is or may be a conflict of interest between it in its fiduciary capacity and in its individual capacity because of potential claims or liabilities which may be asserted against it on behalf of the trust or estate because of the type or condition of assets held therein.
g. For purposes of this subsection "environmental law" means any federal, state, or local law, rule, regulation, or ordinance relating to protection of the environment or human health. For purposes of this subsection, "hazardous substances" means any substance defined as hazardous or toxic or otherwise regulated by any environmental law. The fiduciary shall be entitled to charge the cost of any inspection, review, abatement, response, cleanup, or remedial action authorized herein against the income or principal of the trust or estate. A fiduciary shall not be personally liable to any beneficiary or other party for any decrease in value of assets in trust or in an estate by reason of the fiduciary's compliance with any environmental law, specifically including any reporting requirement under such law. Neither the acceptance by the fiduciary of property or a failure by the fiduciary to inspect property shall be deemed to create any inference as to whether or not there is or may be any liability under any environmental law with respect to such property.
(9) Pay Taxes and Expenses. - To pay taxes, assessments, compensation of the fiduciary, and other expenses incurred in the collection, care, administration, and protection of the trust or estate.
(10) Receive Additional Property. - To receive additional property from any source and administer such additional property as a portion of the appropriate trust or estate under the management of the fiduciary; provided the fiduciary shall not be required to receive such property without the fiduciary's consent.
(11) Deal with Other Trusts. - In dealing with one or more fiduciaries:
a. To sell property, real or personal, to, or to exchange property with, the trustee of any trust which the decedent or the settlor or his spouse or any child of his shall have created, for such estates and upon such terms and conditions as to sale price, terms of payment, and security as to the fiduciary shall seem advisable; and the fiduciary shall be under no duty to follow the proceeds of any such sale; and
b. To borrow money for such periods of time and upon such terms and conditions as to rates, maturities, renewals and securities as the fiduciary shall deem advisable from any trust created by the decedent, his spouse, or any child of his, for the purpose of paying debts of the decedent, taxes, the costs of the administration of the estate, and like charges against the estate, or any part thereof, or discharging the liability of any fiduciary thereof and to mortgage, pledge or otherwise encumber such portion of the estate or any trust as may be required to secure such loan or loans and to renew such loans.
(12) Borrow Money. - To borrow money for such periods of time and upon such terms and conditions as to rates, maturities, renewals, and security as the fiduciary shall deem advisable, including the power of a corporate fiduciary to borrow from its own banking department, for the purpose of paying debts, taxes, or other charges against the estate or any trust, or any part thereof, and to mortgage, pledge or otherwise encumber such portion of the estate or any trust as may be required to secure such loan or loans; and to renew existing loans either as maker or endorser.
(13) Make Advances. - To advance money for the protection of the trust or estate, and for all expenses, losses and liabilities sustained in the administration of the trust or estate or because of the holding or ownership of any trust or estate assets, for which advances with any interest the fiduciary shall have a lien on the assets of the trust or estate as against a beneficiary.
(14) Vote Shares. - To vote shares of stock owned by the estate or any trust at stockholders meetings in person or by special, limited, or general proxy, with or without power of substitution.
(15) Register in Name of Nominee. - To hold a security in the name of a nominee or in other form without disclosure of the fiduciary relationship so that title to the security may pass by delivery, but the fiduciary shall be liable for any act of the nominee in connection with the stock so held.
(16) Exercise Options, Rights, and Privileges. - To exercise all options, rights, and privileges to convert stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, mortgages, or other property into other stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, mortgages, or other property; to subscribe for other or additional stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, mortgages, or other property; and to hold such stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, mortgages, or other property so acquired as investments of the estate or trust so long as the fiduciary shall deem advisable.
(17) Participate in Reorganizations. - To unite with other owners of property similar to any which may be held at any time in the decedent's estate or in any trusts in carrying out any plan for the consolidation or merger, dissolution or liquidation, foreclosure, lease, or sale of the property, incorporation or reincorporation, reorganization or readjustment of the capital or financial structure of any corporation, company or association the securities of which may form any portion of an estate or trust; to become and serve as a member of a stockholders or bondholders protective committee; to deposit securities in accordance with any plan agreed upon; to pay any assessments, expenses, or sums of money that may be required for the protection or furtherance of the interest of the distributees of an estate or beneficiaries of any trust with reference to any such plan; and to receive as investments of an estate or any trust any securities issued as a result of the execution of such plan.
(18) Reduce Interest Rates. - To reduce the interest rate from time to time on any obligation, whether secured or unsecured, constituting a part of an estate or trust.
(19) Renew and Extend Obligations. - To continue any obligation, whether secured or unsecured, upon and after maturity with or without renewal or extension upon such terms as the fiduciary shall deem advisable, without regard to the value of the security, if any, at the time of such continuance.
(20) Foreclose and Bid in. - To foreclose, as an incident to the collection of any bond, note or other obligation, any mortgage, deed of trust, or other lien securing such bond, note or other obligation, and to bid in the property at such foreclosure sale, or to acquire the property by deed from the mortgagor or obligor without foreclosure; and to retain the property so bid in or taken over without foreclosure.
(21) Insure. - To carry such insurance coverage, including public liability, for such hazards and in such amounts, either in stock companies or in mutual companies, as the fiduciary shall deem advisable.
(22) Collect. - To collect, receive, and receipt for rents, issues, profits, and income of an estate or trust.
(23) Litigate, Compromise or Abandon. - To compromise, adjust, arbitrate, sue on or defend, abandon, or otherwise deal with and settle claims in favor of or against the estate or trust as the fiduciary shall deem advisable, and the fiduciary's decision shall be conclusive between the fiduciary and the beneficiaries of the estate or trust and the person against or for whom the claim is asserted, in the absence of fraud by such persons; and in the absence of fraud, bad faith or gross negligence of the fiduciary, shall be conclusive between the fiduciary and the beneficiaries of the estate or trust.
(24) Employ and Compensate Agents, etc. - To employ and compensate, out of income or principal or both and in such proportion as the fiduciary shall deem advisable, persons deemed by the fiduciary needful to advise or assist in the proper settlement of the estate or administration of any trust, including, but not limited to, agents, accountants, brokers, attorneys-at-law, attorneys-in-fact, investment brokers, rental agents, realtors, appraisers, and tax specialists; and to do so without liability for any neglect, omission, misconduct, or default of such agent or representative provided he was selected and retained with due care on the part of the fiduciary.
(25) Acquire and Hold Property of Two or More Trusts Undivided. - To acquire, receive, hold and retain the principal of several trusts created by a single instrument undivided until division shall become necessary in order to make distributions; to hold, manage, invest, reinvest, and account for the several shares or parts of shares by appropriate entries in the fiduciary's books of account, and to allocate to each share or part of share its proportionate part of all receipts and expenses; provided, however, that the provisions of this subdivision shall not defer the vesting in possession of any share or part of share of the estate or trust.
(25a) Divide One Trust into Several Trusts and Make Distributions From Those Trusts. -
a. To divide the funds and properties constituting any trusts into two or more identical separate trusts that represent two or more fractional shares of the funds and properties being divided, or to hold any addition or contribution to an existing trust as a separate, identical trust, and to make distributions of income and principal by a method other than pro rata from the separate trusts so created as the fiduciary determines to be in the best interests of the trust beneficiaries. In any case where two separate, identical trusts are created pursuant to this sub-subdivision, one of which is fully exempt from the federal generation-skipping transfer tax and one of which is fully subject to that tax, the fiduciary may thereafter, to the extent possible consistent with the terms of the governing instrument, determine the value of any mandatory or discretionary distributions to trust beneficiaries on the basis of the combined value of both trusts, but may satisfy such distributions from the separate trusts in a manner designed to minimize the current and potential generation-skipping transfer tax.
b. To divide the funds and properties constituting any trusts into two or more separate, nonidentical trusts if (i) the new trusts so created are not inconsistent with the terms of the governing instrument; and (ii) the terms of the new trusts provide in the aggregate for the same succession of interests and beneficiaries as are provided in the original trust.
c. To fund the new trusts created pursuant to the authority granted under this subdivision either (i) by pro rata allocation of the assets of the original trust; (ii) based upon the fair market value of the assets at the date of division; or (iii) in a manner fairly reflecting the net appreciation or depreciation of the trust assets measured from the valuation date to the date of division.
(25b) Consolidate Similar Trusts. - When the trustee is trustee of more than one trust, the terms of which are substantially similar and the beneficiaries of which are identical, to consolidate the assets of those trusts and administer the assets as one trust under the terms of one of the trusts.
(26) Establish and Maintain Reserves. - To set up proper and reasonable reserves for taxes, assessments, insurance premiums, depreciation, obsolescence, amortization, depletion of mineral or timber properties, repairs, improvements, and general maintenance of buildings or other property out of rents, profits, or other income received; and to set up reserves also for the equalization of payments to or for beneficiaries; provided, however, that the provisions of this subdivision shall not affect the ultimate interests of beneficiaries in such reserves.
(27) Distribute in Cash or Kind. - To make distribution of capital assets of the estate or trust in kind or in cash, or partially in kind and partially in cash, in divided or undivided interests, either pro rata or by a method other than pro rata among all distributees, without regard to the income tax basis or other special tax attributes of such assets, as the fiduciary finds to be most practicable and for the best interests of the distributees; and to determine the value of capital assets for the purpose of making distribution thereof if and when there be more than one distributee thereof, which determination shall be binding upon the distributees unless clearly capricious, erroneous and inequitable; provided, however, that the fiduciary shall not exercise any power under this subdivision unless the fiduciary holds title to or an interest in the property to be distributed and is required or authorized to make distribution thereof.
(28) Pay to or for Minors or Incompetents. - To make payments in money, or in property in lieu of money, to or for a minor or incompetent in any one or more of the following ways:
a. Directly to such minor or incompetent;
b. To apply directly in payment for the support, maintenance, education, and medical, surgical, hospital, or other institutional care of such minor or incompetent;
c. To the legal or natural guardian of such minor or incompetent;
d. To any other person, whether or not appointed guardian of the person by any court, who shall, in fact, have the care and custody of the person of such minor or incompetent.
The fiduciary shall not be under any duty to see to the application of the payments so made, if the fiduciary exercised due care in the selection of the person, including the minor or incompetent, to whom such payments were made; and the receipt of such person shall be full acquittance to the fiduciary.
(28a) Pay to Custodian Under Uniform Gifts or Transfers to Minors Act. - To make any distribution of income or principal, including real property, for the benefit of any distributee to a custodian under the North Carolina Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, Chapter 33A of the General Statutes, or under the provisions of any similar statute in the state where the minor or the custodian resides. Unless a custodian is specifically named in the governing instrument, the fiduciary shall have absolute discretion to nominate any qualified individual or financial institution, including the fiduciary, to serve as custodian, and to nominate one or more substitute custodians.
(29) Apportion and Allocate Receipts and Expenses. - Where not otherwise provided by the Uniform Principal and Income Act of 2003 as contained in Chapter 37A of the General Statutes, to determine:
a. What is principal and what is income of any estate or trust and to allocate or apportion receipts and expenses as between principal and income in the exercise of the fiduciary's discretion, and, by way of illustration and not limitation of the fiduciary's discretion, to charge premiums on securities purchased at a premium against principal or income or partly against each;
b. Whether to apply stock dividends and other noncash dividends to income or principal or apportion them as the fiduciary shall deem advisable; and
c. What expenses, costs, taxes (other than estate, inheritance, and succession taxes and other governmental charges) shall be charged against principal or income or apportioned between principal and income and in what proportions.
(30) Make Contracts and Execute Instruments. - To make contracts and to execute instruments, under seal or otherwise, as may be necessary in the exercise of the powers herein granted.
(31) The foregoing powers shall be limited as follows for any trust which shall be classified as a "private foundation" as that term is defined by section 509 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws (including each nonexempt charitable trust described in section 4947(a)(1) of the code which is treated as a private foundation) or nonexempt split-interest trust described in section 4947(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws (but only to the extent that section 508(e) of the code is applicable to such nonexempt split-interest trust under section 4947(a)(2)):
a. The fiduciary shall make distributions of such amounts, for each taxable year, at such time and in such manner as not to become subject to the tax imposed by section 4942 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.
b. No fiduciary shall engage in any act of self-dealing as defined in section 4941(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.
c. No fiduciary shall retain any excess business holdings as defined in section 4943(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.
d. No fiduciary shall make any investments in such manner as to subject the trust to tax under section 4944 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.
e. No fiduciary shall make any taxable expenditures as defined in section 4945(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.
(32) Obtain Digital Assets. - To obtain any digital assets to the extent permitted by Chapter 36F of the General Statutes, including catalogues and content, and to request and authorize disclosure of the digital assets. (1965, c. 628, s. 1; 1967, c. 24, s. 15; c. 956; 1971, c. 1136, s. 3; 1977, c. 30; 1989, c. 652, s. 20; 1991, c. 192, s. 1; 1995, c. 235, ss. 1-3; 1997-456, s. 27; 1999-144, s. 1; 2003-232, s. 3; 2016-53, s. 4.)
§ 32-28: Repealed by Session Laws 2005-192, s. 4, effective January 1, 2006.
§§ 32-29 through 32-33. Reserved for future codification purposes.