Do you or your family members have a trust?
Are you a beneficiary, trustee or other fiduciary?
The Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code went into effect in July of 2012 with the intention of streamlining the trust process and making it more user friendly. For many, this new code will change what you thought you knew about trust law.
Keep reading to see how the MUTC may affect you and your family.
You thought the trust was irrevocable?
Irrevocable trusts can now be changed or terminated. The MUTC provides methods of amending or terminating trusts if certain conditions are met, including consent of all beneficiaries and keeping the material purpose of the trust intact.
Under the MUTC, unless the trust terms expressly state that the trust is irrevocable, it will be treated as a revocable trust. This is a change from the prior law when all trusts were presumed irrevocable unless otherwise noted.
What do you mean the trustees do not have to agree?
Under prior trust law, unanimous consent by the trustees was required for any major trust decisions. Going forward however, the MUTC requires only a majority vote by the trustees.
If you are a current trustee, your duties may have changed. If you are a trust beneficiary, your rights may have expanded. Depending upon your specific situation and trust terms, the MUTC now requires trustees do the following:
- Notify beneficiaries of the trust within 30 days of your appointment as trustee, or when the trust becomes irrevocable
- Provide any information as requested by trust beneficiaries
- Keep the beneficiaries reasonably informed of all trust activity
- Send and or file annual accounts to the beneficiaries, unless the trust states otherwise
Now that you know a little more about the new trust administration process, meet with an attorney to review your current documents to make sure they still meet your expectations and intentions. Keep in mind that many of these changes can be overridden by putting the proper language in your trust document. However, making changes to a trust can be a complicated process and proper steps must be taken to maintain its validity.
The attorneys at Winston Law Group have years of experience in trust drafting and administration and would be happy to review and amend your trust and other documents to ensure that your wishes are properly met and your assets are safeguarded for the long term.