Should We Honor Your Wishes? Your Demands?

New York was the first of many states allowing the modification (decanting) of “irrevocable” trust agreements.  Of course, under the right circumstances, an irrevocable trust can be amended (in NY, and other states) with the consent of the creator.  But the decanting statute allows significant changes to the terms of a trust which the creator (whether by a trust deed or via his or her Last Will & Testament) understood to be irrevocable, and in which he or she has no say.   In modern usage, then, it may not be possible to revoke a permanent trust (other than by distributing it to the beneficiaries or losing all the money), but we can change it, and that seems a curious twist on the plain meaning […]

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