Friday, March 7, 2014
Melissa J. Willms (Davis & Willms, PLLC) recently published an article entitled, Decanting Trusts: Irrevocable, Not Unchangeable, 6 Est. Plan. & Cmty. Prop. L.J. 35 (Fall 2013). Provided below is the introduction to the article:
The term “decanting” sounds mysterious and can evoke fear in some estate planners. In reality, decanting is simply a form of trust modification initiated by a trustee. In the strictest sense, a trustee accomplishes the modification by moving assets from one trust to a new trust, with different terms. Although the future of trust beneficiaries may be unknown, especially to beneficiaries, estate planning attorneys continue to draft trusts designed to last for generations. Decanting comes from this standpoint: a desire for changes in an otherwise irrevocable trust. This article will attempt to demystify the issues by looking at decanting and trust modifications from statutory, common law, and trust agreement standpoints.