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Irrevocable Trusts - Can You Change an Irrevocable Trust?

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While in general an Irrevocable Trust is just that - irrevocable - and so it can't be changed, modified or revoked, the answer to this question is "no" if you're the Trustmaker of the Irrevocable Trust and "possibly" if you're the Trustee or a beneficiary of the Irrevocable Trust. Here is a list of ways that an Irrevocable Trust can be changed or terminated:

  1. Trustee or Beneficiary Modification or Judicial Modification - Some Irrevocable Trusts contain provisions allowing the Trustee or a beneficiary to change the terms of the trust under very limited circumstances. Aside from this, the Trustee or a beneficiary can petition the appropriate state court to ask for the court's permission to change the terms of the trust.
  2. Trust Protector Modification - Some Irrevocable Trusts allow the Trustee or beneficiaries to hire a Trust Protector to determine if an Irrevocable Trust should be changed after careful review of the pros and cons of making the requested change.
  3. Exercise of a Power of Appointment - Some Irrevocable Trusts are written to give the Trustee or trust beneficiaries the power to modify the trust provisions through the exercise of a lifetime or testamentary power of appointment.
  4. Disposition of Trust Property - If some or all of the property owned by the Irrevocable Trust is abandoned, sold or otherwise disposed of, then this could cause the trust to be terminated and any remaining assets to be distributed to the trust beneficiaries.

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