irrevocable trust

Ask the Attorney: Is It Possible to Modify an Irrevocable Trust?

When you are considering ways to plan your estate, trusts are a useful tool. Unlike wills, trusts are not subject to the expensive and time-consuming legal process called “probate.” 

If you are thinking of establishing a trust, make sure to reach out to the professionals at OC Wills & Trusts. Our skilled Orange County wills and trusts lawyers will help you determine which type of estate plan is best for you.

Understanding Irrevocable Trusts

There are two common categories of trusts. These are “revocable” and “irrevocable” trusts. When you are thinking about establishing a trust, you may wonder whether irrevocable trusts can be modified. 

The term “irrevocable” implies that the trust cannot be changed, revoked, or terminated. However, it is important to understand the implications of an irrevocable trust before establishing one. 

It is true that a trust owner cannot amend an irrevocable trust on their own. However, with the cooperation of other parties or the courts, irrevocable trusts can sometimes be changed under California state law. 

Changing an Irrevocable Trust in California

There are a few statutes in the California Probate Code that allow for the possible amendment, dissolving, or modification of an irrevocable trust. For instance, California Probate Code §15404(a) states that trusts of any kind can be changed with the written authorization of the owner and all beneficiaries.  

The “beneficiaries” are those who will profit from the distribution of the assets held in the trust. If the owner and beneficiaries consent, a California irrevocable trust can be changed or terminated without court approval.  

However, if any beneficiaries do not approve of the change or termination, this will not work. Also, if a beneficiary has not been born, this process will be unavailable.

According to California Probate Code §15404(b), the owner of a trust can modify or terminate it without the consent of all beneficiaries under some circumstances. To do so, the owner must petition the court. Even under these conditions, the change cannot drastically contrast with the interests of the affected beneficiaries. 

If all the beneficiaries consent, an irrevocable trust can be changed with the approval of California courts. This is true even if the owner is not involved. 

Is it important to work with an estate planning attorney to establish a trust?

It is vital to consult with a legal professional when you want to establish a trust for your assets. This is true whether you plan to begin a revocable trust or an irrevocable trust. 

Establishing an irrevocable trust for your property and assets in California is a significant commitment. This is because these legal agreements are very difficult to amend or terminate. 

Fortunately, one of the knowledgeable attorneys at OC Wills & Trusts can help you craft the right estate plan for you. We will assist you in drafting a legally binding trust that protects your interests and ensures your wishes are carried out. 

One of our legal professionals will provide you with the following services: 

  • Advise you on the different types of trusts
  • Determine the kind of trust that is best for you
  • Draft the trust to your exact specifications
  • Help transfer assets — such as real estate and bank accounts
  • Advise you on the tax implications of your trust
  • Help you appoint a trustee
  • Review and update the trust document if necessary 

Our accomplished team has proudly served clients in Orange County, CA, for over a decade. 

Contact the Attorneys at OC Wills & Trusts

When you need guidance in planning your estate in Orange County, speak with the team at OC Wills & Trusts. Do not postpone planning your estate until it’s too late. Reach out to our office today.

Brian Chew, the managing partner of OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, has extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, and veterans’ benefits. By devoting his practice to estate planning matters, he has founded a firm that strives to provide exceptional service to their clients by working closely with individuals and their families to create comprehensive and customized estate plans. For the past twenty five years, Brian has served thousands of clients in the matters of estate planning, wills and trusts. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Brian Chew here.