At the Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys have extensive experience creating and modifying trusts. For more than 35 years, our resected law firm has been committed exclusively to matters involving estate planning, estate administration, estate litigation, and elder law.
We have the resources and the experience to navigate complex trust issues, and we stand ready to help grantors, trustees, and beneficiaries review their trusts and modify them.
Our legal team has helped countless people throughout North Carolina plan for their futures. Let us help you. Schedule a consultation with our Raleigh trust modification attorneys today.
Why Modify a Trust?
Times change and your trust might need to, as well. Perhaps you’ve set up a living trust that needs to be adjusted, or perhaps you’re a trustee or a beneficiary involved with an irrevocable trust. Modifying a trust is a procedure that can help everyone involved ─ grantors, trustees, and beneficiaries. Like any legal arrangement, the circumstances around a trust can change and the trust can be adjusted to meet them.
There are many reasons to modify a trust, including:
- Taking advantage of new tax laws
- Administrative changes including changes in trustees
- Adjustments for circumstances such as disability, divorce, and other major life events
- Low assets in a trust
- Meeting the trust’s goals and objectives of the grantor
- Agreement from beneficiaries that the trust should end
- Correction of errors
Ideally, a trust will be well-drafted and stand the test of time. In most cases, trusts can continue to thrive with only minimal changes. Modification can tweak assets, add or remove beneficiaries, and allow for changes in trustees. There are many reasons to modify a trust, and if you have questions, an attorney can help you understand whether trust modification makes sense for you.
What to Consider When Modifying a Trust
Trust modification largely depends on the type of trust and the timing of the changes. With some living trusts, it may be possible to modify the trust between the trustee, the beneficiaries, and their lawyers. With irrevocable trusts, a court will likely be involved.
As a general rule, the more fixed the trust is and the more severe the changes, the more likely you’ll need to get court approval. A Raleigh trust modification lawyer can help you understand the appropriate procedures and methods for getting your changes approved.
If you’re thinking about modifying a trust, you should also consult with an attorney about tax consequences. Even minor changes to a trust can have serious effects. For example, if a trust is grandfathered in under older laws, modification may subject it to new tax rules. Similarly, bringing in new beneficiaries may expose the trust to new categories of taxes. The modification will need to follow appropriate procedures to minimize taxes and keep the trust secure.
Revocable Living Trusts vs. Irrevocable Trusts
Revocable living trusts are a type of trust that is straightforward to modify while the grantor is alive. These types of trusts are highly flexible and allow the grantor to make modifications as needed. These modifications can include changes in assets, designation of the trustee, and beneficiaries. Often these changes can be made without a court involved.
However, when modifying a living trust, it’s important to have the advice of an attorney throughout the process since modification can have unintended consequences such as tax liabilities. Planning and advice will save time and money down the line.
Once the grantor of a revocable living trust passes away, though, it becomes an irrevocable trust that is much more challenging to modify. Although irrevocable trusts are harder to modify, it can be done. These types of trusts are not set in stone, but they nearly always require court approval of any modification.
An attorney can help update the irrevocable trust to meet new circumstances, address tax problems, and resolve other pressing issues. Because irrevocable trust modifications require court approval, there is much more work involved, and many more opportunities to make mistakes. Be sure to seek qualified legal advice before undertaking a trust modification.
Review Your Trusts and Modify If Needed
Regularly review your trusts and make sure they’re doing the job they should:
- As a grantor, you want your trust to effectively serve those you love.
- As a trustee, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re prudently managing the trust and making sure that it serves the beneficiaries well.
- As a beneficiary, you have a right to effective management of the trust that you benefit from.
By reviewing trusts on a regular basis, you’ll catch any problems and make sure they serve their purpose for years to come.
Our Dedicated Raleigh Trust Modification Lawyers Are Here to Help
Thoughtful and appropriate trust modification can help your trust thrive into the future. At the Brady Cobin Law Group, we have more than 35 years of experience helping people plan and manage their trusts. Our skilled Raleigh trust modification attorneys can review your current situation, explain your options, and help you move forward with a plan that makes sense for you.
Our law firm has set up and modified all sizes and types of trusts, and we know how to help you protect your legacy and your loved ones for years to come. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
What a wonderful experience it was to work with Dan Brady and his team of true professionals. I have a new found confidence regarding my estate planning as they walked me through the legal maze of wills and estates. Thank you, “Team Brady”!