Florida case highlights challenges faced, when attempting to commute a trust.
A settlor in Florida created an irrevocable trust funded with assets totaling $3 million with his son named as the beneficiary and entitled to interest income from the trust for life. Three educational institutions were named as the remainder beneficiaries.
However, the son and the remainder beneficiaries sued the trustee to get the trust commuted, so they could all receive their share of the trust assets, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in "Court Stops Beneficiaries From Commuting Trust."
Florida law provides three different reasons for permitting an irrevocable trust to be commuted or modified by the court, which are similar to most state laws on the subject. The first is that the purposes for which the trust was created have been fulfilled or are otherwise a problem. For example, the purposes may be impossible to fulfill or illegal. The second is that unanticipated circumstances have made complying with the terms of the trust, contrary to the purposes of the trust. Finally, the material purpose for which the trust was created no longer exists.
In the Florida case, the trial court ruled on a summary judgment for the son. However, on appeal, the ruling was reversed, since the court determined that the settlor's intent was the most important thing. Therefore, the trust could not be dissolved merely because the beneficiaries wanted to do so.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and may include a trust.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (June 3, 2018) "Court Stops Beneficiaries From Commuting Trust."