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How to Fix a Broken Trust: Decanting, Reformation and Other Tools

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Not every irrevocable trust ends up serving its intended purpose or is financially viable.

Many unforeseen events can and do occur – tax laws change, family circumstance change – sometimes dramatically, or there can be d a deep downturn in a family business. In these and many other circumstances trusts are broken and need to be "fixed" – fiduciary powers adjusted, distributions policies modified, trusts divided or merged, or even terminated. The process of accomplishing these fixes are necessarily limited and comes with risks, including tax liability and potentially liability to future beneficiaries.

This program provides a practical guide to techniques for fixing broken irrevocable trusts.

  • Trust reformation by agreement of all stakeholders or by court order
  • Principal and income adjustment powers under the UPIA
  • Techniques for converting a trust from one type to another
  • Use of "decanting" to terminate trusts and distribute assets when the trust is not viable
  • Framework of tax considerations when trusts are restructured or terminated


  • Benjamin S. Candland

    Benjamin S. Candland is a partner in the Richmond, Virginia office of McGuireWoods, LLP, where his practice focuses on estate planning, administration, estate and gift taxation, and litigation. He provides individual clients with advice on various estate planning matters involving estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes. He is a member of the ABA Real Property and Probate Section and the Virginia Bar Association Trusts and Estate Section.

    Mr. Candland received his B.A. from Brigham Young University and his J.D. from the College of William and Mary School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Ben.

February 28, 2023
Tue 1:00 PM EST

Duration 1H 0M

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