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By: Scott Grossman on September 15th, 2016

Seven Reasons for Modifying an Irrevocable Trust in California

In a recent court battle, the family of deceased superstar Whitney Houston attempted to modify the terms of her testamentary trust. Ms. Houston’s grandmother and sister-in-law were seeking to delay the distribution of Ms. Houston’s estate to her young daughter. They were concerned about the girl’s ability to handle and manage such a large inheritance. While the matter was later settled, it raises an interesting question. Can trusts be modified once they become irrevocable? The answer is that sometimes, yes, they can be. Typically, once the creator of a trust dies, it becomes irrevocable. Irrevocable trusts generally cannot be changed. In limited circumstances, however, modifying an Irrevocable Trust in California can be completed.

Modifying an Irrevocable Trust in California includes:

  • Unanticipated changes in circumstances surrounding the trust
  • Unclear language
  • Impossibly awkward trust terms
  • To accomplish tax-savings goals
  • To combine similar trusts
  • To divide trusts
  • Trust principle is uneconomically low

Regardless of the reason, modifying the terms of an irrevocable trust will require court involvement. The modification may also cause a court battle if not all of the beneficiaries or trustees are in favor of the change. Attempting to navigate this process without the guidance of an experienced attorney is a mistake. Trust modifications require the experience and knowledge of a legal professional who has successfully had the terms of a trust changed in the past. The attorney will assess the facts and circumstances surrounding your trust to determine whether you may qualify for a modification.

If you are ready to start your case, then please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form.  If you want a comprehensive overview of California Probate, then click here. Should you have additional questions about trust litigation, then you will find plenty of useful information in our Learning Center.