Many types of trusts exist, but a feature common to most of them is that they allow the estate to avoid probate. Testamentary trusts are unique among trusts, and whether they can be terminated or not depends upon timing. If you wish to set up a testamentary trust or terminate one you may want to work with Bryan estate attorneys.
Testamentary Trusts and Their Functions
Testamentary trusts are quite different from other trusts. For one, they are written into the will itself. Other trusts remove property from a will, and therefore out of the hands of the probate court. A testamentary trust is useful as a means of controlling an inheritance after the death of the testator. For instance, you may wish to leave a large portion of your estate to your minor children, but want the money to be disbursed to them in small amounts until they reach majority status. A trustee you name would handle the actual disbursement of the money to the children. Usually a testamentary trust has a termination date. This could be, for instance, the point at which your youngest child reaches age 18.
Another way in which testamentary trusts differ from others is that they actually don’t come into existence until the death of the testator. Because they are established through instructions written into the will, the property that is included in the testamentary trust passes through probate.
Terminating a Testamentary Trust
It is actually quite a simple matter to dissolve a testamentary trust if you, the testator, are still alive. To do so, you need to draft a codicil, which is an amendment to a will. In the codicil specify the provisions of the testamentary trust that you wish to terminate. It is important that the language is correct, so you may want to work with your attorney. You will need to indicate paragraphs of your will that are to be stricken, and then quote them. It is essential that you specify the date that your will was executed. Also, you will need to sign and date the codicil.
Once you die your testamentary trust becomes irrevocable. A person wishing to terminate a trust at this point would need to provide the probate court with a very compelling reason, such as that carrying out the instructions of the testamentary trust would in some way be harmful to the beneficiaries.