Can I change the terms of a trust during the trust administration process?
This is a bit of a tricky question because it kind of depends on what angle we’re approaching the question from. If we’re acting as the sole trustee and we want to modify the terms to be more what we think Mom and Dad really wanted or what we think they should have put, absolutely not. That’s not something the successor trustee can do. You can’t change things to be what you think they should say. Your duty and your role as successor trustee is to carry out the written wishes as written.
There are cases that come up where it may make sense to try to modify the terms of the trust. Maybe tax law changed and the document wasn’t properly updated around that tax law change or maybe some different scenario amongst the beneficiaries played out that we didn’t foresee and for their benefit it makes sense to modify the terms.
In those cases, you may actually be able to modify the trust even though it’s irrevocable but how we go about doing that will depend on a few things. It’s important that you sit down with in an estate planning attorney and discuss your options which will start with what’s in the trust itself, whether there’s an available mechanism in the trust itself to make those change or whether we have to petition the court or whether there’s some different way to accomplish the stated goal.
If you have any questions around whether you can (or should) adjust or modify the terms of the trust during the trust administration, please sit down with one of our estate planning attorneys in San Diego. If you have questions, always feel free to sit down with us, give us a call, send us an email, send us a text whichever you prefer. We’re here and we’re always happy to answer any questions.
Related post: What is a Trust and what is a Will