What if it the trustee and beneficiaries could ignore your instructions and re-draft your trust after passing? Is it possible for your heirs and the trustee of your and your spouse’s trust to ignore your wishes, and simply get together and re-write the terms of the trust and divide things up as THEY see fit? “What?,” I hear you say. “How could they possibly ignore the instructions I put into my trust?”
There have been substantial changes in the trust laws in Washington and Idaho recently, known as a Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution Act or TEDRA. These laws allow the beneficiaries to meet with the trustee, and essentially throw out the specific instructions you left in the “material purposes” component of your trust. They are then able to develop a new agreement together, and redistribute things as THEY see fit instead of how you intended them.
“But I live in California, and that is where our trust documents were drawn…”
That may be well and good for today, but there have been several legislative attempts to enact components of TEDRA here in California. If adopted in California TEDRA means the trustee and beneficiaries could ignore your instructions and re-draft your trust after you’ve passed. It is important for your estate planning and trust attorney to stay on top of developments in the trust laws and to advise you when laws are amended or changed altogether in relation to your trust. It is also important for you to tell your attorney when there is a material change in your personal circumstances.
Why is it So Important to Update Your Trust Every 3 Years?
Imagine the surprise of learning that your trust documents weren’t the fixed set of instructions you intended and expected them to be. Is it possible to make different elections, or actually construct the trust differently to protect against radical changes to trusts such as TEDRA? Yes, it is. That is why it is so important to bring in your trust documents and have us review them every three years.
The only constant in life is “change.” People change. Situations change. Trust laws change. Your trust documents are one of the most important things you will leave behind in this world. Isn’t it important to you and your family to make sure they remain legally enforceable and ensure that your intentions are followed?
If you have not reviewed your trust documents in the past few years it is time to work with Allen Barron. Trusts not only protect your assets and wealth from taxation and legal disputes. They provide specific directions on how you intend for those assets to be shared with those you love and care about after your passing. Make sure those instructions are followed, otherwise it’s possible in the future your trustee and beneficiaries could ignore your instructions and re-draft your trust .