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Washington, DC residents need to review trusts periodically

Once an estate plan is complete, many Washington, DC residents tend to forget about the documents until and unless they are needed. However, with some estate planning documents, such as trusts, a periodic review is needed. A review will ensure that the documents still meet the individual's goals and all of the provisions and appointments are still valid.

One of the most important items to review is the appointment of a trustee. Is the person appointed when the trust was created still the best person for the job? If not, that person can usually be replaced. The easiest way to do so is through a provision in the trust. The beneficiary of the trust or an outside party can be given the power to remove and replace the trustee. If the trust does not provide for this, it will be necessary to go to court in order to remove the trustee.

It is a fact of life that laws have a tendency to change from time to time. Therefore, it is also a good idea to review the trust to be sure it still protects the beneficiary or beneficiaries from creditors, ex-spouses and taxes. Ordinarily, trusts contain a provision making them irrevocable upon the death of the trust's creator as an added precaution to protect the trust's assets.

Trusts can be changed and even terminated, so long as the creator of the trust is alive and the trust is revocable. Even if a trust is irrevocable, which means it cannot be terminated, changes might be made if necessary. Change is one of the constants in life, and fortunately, estate planning documents are able to change with it and the desires of the Washington, DC resident creating the estate plan.

Source: dallasnews.com, "A checklist for reviewing your trust", Pamela Yip, April 4, 2014

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