VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Create a solid estate plan through use of a trust

One of the main reasons to create a solid estate plan is to make the vision you have for your legacy a reality. A key tool in estate planning is often some form of trust. Assets are accumulated in the instrument, and the subsequent distribution of that wealth occurs within the strict rules you lay out as the creator of the trust. In many instances, the trust may have a provision that calls for its termination. But what if the conditions that prompted the creation of the trust change before the anticipated end date?

It is possible to change terms or even end a trust, but the conditions under which such actions can be taken are restricted by Florida law. Depending on the type of trust involved, the modification, reformation or termination of a trust may be possible non-judicially, which means you won't need to go to court to do so. If the legal requirements for non-judicial means can't be met, it may be possible to seek changes through the courts. But again, the type of trust and the circumstances dictate the options.

What situations might indicate a change

The intersection of state and federal laws related to asset transfers and gifts tend to make changes to trusts complicated. However, changes in circumstance can occur - making modification or termination of trust provisions necessary. Examples of these circumstances may include:

  • Depletion of trust assets.
  • The trust's purpose no longer exists or has become unsustainable for some reason.
  • Trust administration costs are no longer justified.

This does not represent a full list of issues that might prompt modifying or terminating a trust. To understand all possible options and to determine whether a change to a trust is feasible or advisable, consult with an experienced attorney.

Among the questions an attorney will answer is whether modification or termination is possible without having to go to court - which can be costly and time consuming.

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