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Can a Trust Really Be Irrevocable?, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA


When people create irrevocable trusts, they normally intend for the trusts to be just that. However, sometimes circumstances change and they want to revoke the trusts. As it turns out, they often can thanks to legal developments in the last couple of decades.

In the past when a trust was made irrevocable, it almost certainly was. This led to problems when the circumstances that existed when the trust was created changed greatly and made the trust less than ideal.

Lawyers and judges grew increasingly frustrated about trusts that needed to be revoked, but were difficult to revoke. Fortunately, over the last 20 years or so, legal developments have made it much easier to revoke a so-called irrevocable trust.

The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog recently published a list of these developments in “Taking the Meaning Out of ‘Irrevocable’.”

The list includes:

  • 29 states and Washington D.C. have passed the Uniform Trust Code which allows courts to modify or terminate irrevocable trusts.
  • 22 states have decanting statutes.
  • Two states have passed the Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act which allows revocation in some circumstances.

Do you have an irrevocable trust, are the trustee of one, or are the beneficiary of one? If yes, and you believe the trust should be modified or revoked, you do have options.

This is not a do-it-yourself project, however. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to explore your options.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (March 13, 2015) “Taking the Meaning Out of ‘Irrevocable’.”

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