How Do I Fix Estate Planning Issues?

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Fix estate planning issues with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney.

You created an estate plan.

Maybe you did so by yourself.

Perhaps you utilized the services of an “inexperienced” attorney.

Whatever the reason, you noticed some problems.

According to a recent The Wilmington Business Journal article titled “Repairing Estate Planning Mistakes: There Are Ways To Clean Up A Mess,” you need to fix these estate planning issues as soon as possible.

You will need help to fix estate planning issues.
You cannot fix estate planning issues alone.

First, you must find an “experienced estate planning” attorney.

This is especially true if you need to fix an estate planning issue in an irrevocable trust.

Why?

Irrevocable trusts cannot be revoked.

In some cases, an irrevocable trust may be modified.

If so, what might be potential options?

If the administration for a trust becomes too expensive or its purpose becomes outdated, then an experienced estate planning attorney may be able to petition a judge to request a change.

You may be able to utilize a “trust protector” to decide if the change is warranted.

The trust protector is a third party and the role must have been written in the original trust for this to be an option.

You may be able to provide “power of appointment” to beneficiaries or trustees by adding a term to the trust.

“Decanting” a trust is another option.

When this happens, assets in an existing trust are poured into a new trust.

This new trust has different terms and can extend the life of the trust, fix, errors, change the trustees, clarify ambiguities, or change the legal jurisdiction of the trust.

Not surprisingly, different states have different laws when it comes to fixing irrevocable trusts.

Making these fixes will often require signatures from all beneficiaries and trustees.

A final option may be to terminate the trust.

What happens then?

All assets would go to beneficiaries.

The trust would be dissolved.

Again, all trustees and beneficiaries would need to approve.

If at all possible, it is far simpler to have a solid original estate plan than to fix your estate plan later.

Choosing an experienced estate planning attorney is essential.

Reference: Wilmington Business Journal (Jan. 3, 2020) “Repairing Estate Planning Mistakes: There Are Ways To Clean Up A Mess”

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