One of the main reasons to create a trust is a trust’s permanency. If you create an irrevocable trust, that document will remain in effect until the terms of that trust have come to fruition. However, this does not mean that you or your beneficiaries cannot modify or terminate that trust before it comes to an end.
State law provides the methods whereby parties can execute a trust modification or termination in Fort Lauderdale. In some cases, it is possible to accomplish this without bringing a case to court. In others, judicial oversight is necessary to protect the rights of all parties and ensure that the trust maker’s wishes remain in effect. Marc Brown, P.A., our well-versed trusts attorney, can guide you on the best path to take.
Seeking a Modification or Termination of a Trust with all Parties in Agreement
Trusts are legal documents in the eyes of the law. This means that the trust maker, the trustee, and the beneficiaries must all agree to perform their roles according to the language of the document. However, limited circumstances do exist where the law allows for the termination or modification of a trust without judicial oversight.
Florida Statute § 736.0412 states that a trustee and all qualified beneficiaries may act to modify a trust through unanimous agreement. Under this law, this procedure is available only after the trust maker’s, also known as the settlor’s, death. In simpler terms, the trustees and beneficiaries to a trust may modify or terminate the trust if they agree to the changes and the trust maker is dead. An experienced attorney can help to determine if this option is available and draft documents needed to modify or terminate the Fort Lauderdale trust.
Situations where Judicial Approval is Necessary to Modify a Trust in Fort Lauderdale
With the lone exception listed above, all proposed modifications or terminations of trusts must flow through the court. In these scenarios, the parties asking for the change must convince the court that the requested alterations are consistent with the original purpose of the trust.
According to FL Stat. § 736.04113, a trustee or qualified beneficiary can bring this petition before the court. They must prove that the changes are necessary because the purpose of the trust is now complete or that retaining the original language would result in waste or impracticality.
A second option is available when a modification would best serve the interests of beneficiaries. Remember that the purpose of a trust is to provide for the needs of those beneficiaries. FL Stat. § 736.04115 decrees that a trustee or beneficiary may file a petition with the court to modify a trust in a way that alters the language to better fit the trust maker’s objective. This could result in a more efficient distribution of funds to beneficiaries.
Finally, the court may act to revoke or modify a trust if a charitable trust becomes unlawful, impractical, or impossible to achieve. Here, the settlor, trustee, or beneficiary may request this remedy with the court. The rules around modifying or terminating a trust will be easier to understand with the help of a knowledgeable lawyer.
Contact a Lawyer for Help Modifying and Terminating Trusts in Fort Lauderdale
Irrevocable trusts have the benefit of permanency. However, situations can arise where the purpose of the trust becomes impossible or changes are necessary to give beneficiaries the full benefit of the arrangement. In these cases, it may be possible to apply for a trust modification or termination in Fort Lauderdale.
Marc Brown, P.A., our respected attorney, may be able to help with this process. We could explain the reasons why changes may be necessary and work to file the proper paperwork with the court. Reach out today to get started.