New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

Charitable Trusts UnitMunicipalities

Municipal trustees – cemetery trustees, library trustees, trustees of trust funds – have very important and varied duties. The Charitable Trusts Unit strives to provide municipal trustees with the information needed to perform their duties legally and efficiently.

  • Cemetery Trustees are responsible for the care and maintenance of public municipal cemeteries in your town or city, and for any private cemeteries the town has acquired. Cemetery Trustees establish the bylaws, prepare a budget every year, prepare the deeds or right to inter (although Cemetery Trustees do not sign the deeds) and maintain the cemeteries. Cemetery Trustees do not hold the principal of donated cemetery and perpetual care trust funds. This responsibility is given to the Trustees of Trust Funds. It is important for Cemetery Trustees to work closely with the Trustees of Trust Funds.
  • Library Trustees are responsible for the management of the public library in their town or city. Library Trustees prepare and present the annual budget to the appropriate town officials and expend money raised and appropriated for the library, hire the library director, and adopt bylaws, rules and regulations for the operation of the library. Library trustees may also hold and invest the principal of trust funds for the benefit of the library, depending on the wishes of the donor as expressed in the will or trust instrument. Library Trustees work closely with the Trustees of Trust Funds regarding expenditure of those library trust funds in the custody of the Trustees of Trust Funds. Library Trustees must submit to the Charitable Trusts Unit a copy of their annual financial report.
  • Trustees of Trust Funds are the custodian of the town's perpetual care funds, charitable trusts, and capital reserve/expendable trust funds. Trustees of Trust Funds make the decisions regarding expenditure from these funds based on the wishes of the donor in the case of privately donated funds. The Trustees distribute capital reserve funds and expendable trust funds to the appropriate government officials upon request. Trustees of Trust Funds make the decisions on how these funds are to be invested based on the investment policy adopted by the Trustees. Trustees of Trust Funds must submit annually to the Department of Revenue Administration and the Charitable Trusts Unit annual reports with respect to their trust funds.

Procedure for Trustees of Trust Funds to modify or close funds

The Charitable Trusts Unit cannot provide municipalities with legal advice. Municipalities should seek legal advice from their town or city legal counsel.

Taxpayer Funds (e.g., Capital Reserve and Expendable Trust Funds):

The Municipal and Property Division of the NH Department of Revenue Administration has developed guidance on the process for closing taxpayer-funded funds held by the Trustees of Trust Funds. The Division also has developed suggested warrant article language. Municipalities should contact their DRA Municipal Advisor Portable Document Format Symbol for more information.

Privately Donated Trust Funds (e.g., Scholarship Funds, Perpetual Care Funds, Other Funds Donated to the Town)

The Charitable Trusts Unit has developed guidance with respect to the modification or termination of privately donated funds held by the Trustees of Trust Funds. The guidance (Municipal Trustees: Summary of Laws and FAQs) is available on the Charitable Trusts Unit's website. A discussion of changes to the purpose or administration of a restricted fund begins on page 11 of the linked PDF.

Modifying or terminating privately donated trust funds may require prior court approval. Before modifying or terminating any privately donated trust fund, the Trustees of Trust Funds or the municipality's legal counsel should contact the Charitable Trusts Unit with the following information:

  1. A copy of the original trust instrument (e.g., trust, gift instrument, donation letter, warrant article accepting the gift);
  2. The date that the fund was established;
  3. The value of the fund when it was established;
  4. The purpose and any restrictions on the fund;
  5. The current value of the fund; and
  6. The reason(s) that the municipality seeks to modify or terminate the fund.

Use of Cemetery Perpetual Care Funds

Questions arise whether a municipality may use income from cemetery perpetual care funds for general cemetery maintenance and/or improvement. Unless the municipality has received an order from a judge of probate permitting that use, cemetery perpetual care income may not be used for general cemetery maintenance or cemetery improvement. Cemetery perpetual care funds are valid charitable trusts and the income is therefore restricted for use on the lot or lots upon which the fund has been placed. See, Opinion of the Justices, 101 N.H. 531 (1957).

New Improvements to Form MS-9 and Form MS-10

  • Form MS-9 has been updated to align MS-9 field names with proper terminology and to provide a separation of market value and book value. The new Form MS-9 report is easier to review and more suitable for inclusion in annual reports. Read MS-9 Changes Portable Document Format Symbol for more information.
  • Form MS-10 has been changed to allow municipalities to upload brokerage and account statements in lieu of entering data for each investment. Also, information is requested for all accounts, so that the MS-9 and MS-10 will balance. Read MS-10 Changes Portable Document Format Symbol for more information.
  • Municipalities have the option to use the new MS-9 and MS-10 forms immediately. Their use will become mandatory, effective July 1, 2023. To opt into the new forms now, contact Axiomatic Support.

Forms, Publications and Training

Electronic Reporting Forms for Trustees of Trust Funds

Portable Document Format Symbol Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.

Charitable Trusts Unit
New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3591