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Do-over trusts may allow grantors to revamp old trusts

People in Wisconsin who have gotten ahead of the game and established trusts as part of their estate plans may sometimes have cause to regret it. Those who create an irrevocable dynasty trust, for example, when their children are young might later feel that they should have drafted the terms of the trust differently. The estate planning environment decades ago did not anticipate the specific social and economic changes that could operate to make trust terms counterproductive.

At the conclusion of 2018, 25 states had passed statutes that allowed grantors to change the terms of their irrevocable trusts. The actual operation of the statutes vary from state to state, but they generally allow the original trust to be decanted. This allows the grantor to move the assets from an old irrevocable trust nto a new one and allows him or her to use different trust terms to reflect the grantor's changed goals and circumstances. These are sometimes referred to as do-over trusts.

Many of the states that allow for do-over trusts have restrictive requirements and some states do not allow them at all. Where it is possible, though, a do-over trust might allow the grantor to extend the trust term, change the distribution terms, fix an error in drafting or open the trust to hold corporate shares. If the original trust was designed to end on the death of the children of the grantor, for example, the grantor might want to extend its term if the trust has gained significant, multi-generational, assets.

People in Wisconsin who are interested in establishing or updating their estate plans might want to schedule a consultation with a lawyer. A lawyer with experience in estate planning law may be able to help by examining the facts of the situation and suggesting planning instruments that meet the client's needs and goals. A lawyer might be able to reorganize existing trusts or draft a simple will for the client.

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