Often clients will approach us with a problem with an old, in place, trust. The problem is that the circumstances that exist today are somewhat different than may have existed when the trust was put into being but, because the trust is irrevocable (which, on one level, means it cannot be changed), the clients want to know how this can be fixed. Actually, irrevocable trusts can be altered depending on the circumstances. Usually in Maryland that means going to court to have a court decide that it can be modified in some way. This is an important ability because things do change.
One example that comes to mind is in the special needs arena. The Social Security Administration has changing criteria for what will qualify as a D4A Special Needs Trust. In those circumstances, if a particular provision should not be in the trust, usually you can go to court and have that provision stricken. Another example is where a trust is set to distribute assets to a person who really should not be receiving assets, depending on the terms of the trust, provisions might be able to be made to fix that circumstance. These kinds of changes have become much easier now that Maryland has adopted the Maryland Trust Act effective January 2015. That Act effects all trusts whether they have been in place before or after January 2015 so the new rules, which set out clearer guidelines for modification of trusts, apply to all Maryland trusts.
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