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Trust Modification Lawyer In Newport Beach, California

Trusts are increasingly popular tools in estate planning, with a high likelihood of encountering one at some point in life. Whether you’re establishing your own trust or serving as a trustee or beneficiary for someone else’s, there may come a time when modifying or terminating a trust becomes necessary. In California, this process may involve court intervention due to the complexity of trust modification and termination laws. To navigate this intricacy, seeking advice from a knowledgeable attorney is highly recommended. Contact Finn Legal Group now at (949) 237-2030 to speak with our experienced trust medication lawyer in Newport Beach.

Modifying an Irrevocable Living Trust

There are two primary types of trusts commonly utilized — revocable and irrevocable trusts. A revocable trust allows the settlor (the trust creator) to modify or cancel it at any time. In contrast, an irrevocable trust generally cannot be altered or terminated, hence its name. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If the trust beneficiary agrees to modify the trust’s terms, it may be possible to do so. In such cases, it is necessary to demonstrate that the proposed changes are in the best interest of all beneficiaries.

To modify an irrevocable trust, there are two options. The first is to “decant the trust,” a process that involves transferring assets from one trust to another with different terms. The second option is to initiate a court procedure through a California probate court. In this case, you will need to petition the court for permission to modify the irrevocable trust.

Another approach is to include a trust protector provision in the irrevocable trust. This provision allows for updates to the trust without a court proceeding by appointing a trust protector with the authority to make modifications.

Working with a skilled trust administration attorney during the creation of your trust agreement can save you both time and money in the long run. If you find yourself needing to modify an already established irrevocable trust, we strongly recommend reaching out to Finn Legal Group as soon as possible. Our team is ready to assist you through this process and ensure that your future is protected.

Modifying a Testamentary Trust

A testamentary trust is created when the settlor who created the trust dies. In a testamentary trust, the person creating a last will and testament will include the creation of a trust as part of the will. The trust will not come into effect until the person who created the will dies. Testamentary trusts are an effective way to create trusts for minor children. When a parent passes away, someone will be named as a trustee who will manage the child’s inheritance and make sure funds are available in the future.

If you have included a testamentary trust in your last will and testament, you can modify it or revoke it at any time.  In other words, you can modify the terms of the testamentary trust during your lifetime or even completely remove the testamentary trust from your will. However, once you pass away, the testamentary trust will become irrevocable. It may be possible for the beneficiaries and trustees to modify a testamentary trust after your death, but only under limited circumstances. 

Suppose the number of assets in the trust is not what was expected, or the beneficiary’s needs change. In these limited circumstances, you may be able to modify the trust. Testamentary trusts usually state when they will end or be terminated. In most cases, the trust will state that the trust will end when the beneficiary reaches a certain age or a specific purpose has been achieved. 

Modifying a Living Trust

Living trusts are one of the most popular estate planning documents, widely used to avoid the probate process. They are typically revocable, granting the creator the power to modify or terminate the trust during their lifetime. This flexibility is a key advantage of living trusts. Most individuals establish a living trust to maintain control over their assets during their lifetime and to allow beneficiaries to bypass probate upon their passing.

For minor changes to a living trust, it is advisable to add an amendment or restate the trust. Revoking the trust and creating a new one should be considered as a last resort, as it requires transferring all trust property to the new trust—a laborious process.

When making significant modifications, restating the trust is often a better choice, as it leaves less room for ambiguity. It involves rewriting the entire trust, ensuring clarity and coherence. It is important to note that a living trust generally cannot be modified or revoked after the creator’s demise.

Understanding “Changes In Circumstances” Of Trusts

Under California probate law, irrevocable trusts can be modified in certain cases where circumstances have changed. However, to effectuate such a modification, the trustee or beneficiary must initiate a court action by filing a petition to request the modification of the trust terms. The court holds full discretion in granting or denying the request. If you find yourself in a situation where the circumstances surrounding a trust have changed and you wish to pursue a modification, it is advisable to seek guidance from a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer in Newport Beach.

Tips For California Trust Modifications Caused By Changed Circumstances

  1. The petitioner must demonstrate that there were circumstances unknown to the creator of the trust.
  2. An example of changed circumstances is when a charity is named as the beneficiary of a trust, but the trust ceases to exist by the time it becomes irrevocable.
  3. The petitioner must establish that the creator of the trust could not have foreseen these circumstances.
  4. The court must determine whether these changed circumstances would render the trust ineffective or diminish its impact if it were to remain unchanged.
  5. Filing a petition to request this modification does not necessitate the consent of the remaining beneficiaries or trustees.

If you find yourself in changed circumstances, it may be justifiable to seek a modification of the terms of an irrevocable trust in California. For a complimentary consultation, reach out to our experienced Newport Beach trust modification lawyer at Finn Legal Group.

How to Terminate a Trust in California 

At some point during the trust administration process, the trustee should conclude and terminate the trust. Terminating a trust requires careful compliance with California probate laws and tax regulations. If you find yourself as the trustee responsible for terminating a trust, it is advisable to seek guidance from a seasoned probate attorney. This will help ensure the protection of both yourself and the trust from potential liability. Before legally terminating the trust in California, you will need to diligently follow several procedural steps.

Contact Our Newport Beach Trust Modification Lawyer Today

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to modify or revoke a trust in California, you can rely on the expertise of our highly skilled and experienced trust modification lawyer at Finn Legal Group. Our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive assistance tailored to your specific needs. With a meticulous review of your case, we will ensure that you are fully informed of all the legal options available to you. Rest assured that our trial-ready lawyers will diligently and skillfully represent you, always keeping your best interests at heart. Take the first step towards resolving your trust matters by contacting Finn Legal Group today at (949) 237-2030 to schedule your initial consultation.