The expiration-based scheme is widely used to manage the consistency of cached and replicated contents such as Web objects. In this approach, each replica is associated with an expiration time beyond which the replica has to be validated. While the expiration-based scheme has been investigated in the context of a single replica, not much work has been done on its behaviors with respect to multiple replicas. To allow for efficient consistency management, it is desirable to organize the replicas into a distribution tree where a lower level replica seeks validation with a higher level replica when its lifetime expires. This paper investigates the construction of a distribution tree for a given set of replicas with the objective of minimizing the total communication cost of consistency management. This is formulated as an optimization problem and is proven to be NP-complete. The optimal distribution tree is identified in some special cases and several heuristic algorithms are proposed for the general problem. The performance of the heuristic algorithms is experimentally evaluated against two classical graph-theoretic algorithms of tree construction: the shortest-paths tree and the minimum spanning tree.