Modifying Irrevocable Trusts

My grandmother set up a trust of which I am a beneficiary. She has passed away and I am told the trust can’t be changed. There are provisions in the trust that do need to be modified. Is that possible?

Yes. A revocable living trust usually becomes irrevocable at the death of the settlor who is the person who set up the trust. Irrevocable means that by the trust’s terms it cannot be changed. However, even if a trust is irrevocable there are several methods available to modify an irrevocable trust. Depending on the type of modification it has always been possible to apply to a court to get court permission to modify an irrevocable trust. In Colorado, a 2016 statute was enacted which allows a process called “decanting.” Decanting the trust will allow the trustee to modify certain trust provisions. It may be possible to modify administrative provisions and sometimes, depending upon the terms of the trust being modified, to modify the provisions of distribution to a beneficiary. If you are a beneficiary of a trust that is irrevocable or not changeable and you are concerned that it might be better if the trust were modified in some way, you should consult with your attorney. With the expert’s help you can then determine whether or not it is possible to modify the trust and, if it is possible, which option would be more appropriate, a proceeding through the courts or decanting.