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



  • Available Until 2/5/2022
  • Next Class Time 10:00 AM MT
  • Duration 60 min.
  • Format MP3 Download
  • Program Code 02052019
  • MCLE Credits 1 + hours

Course Price: $79.00


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 come with risks, including tax liability and potentially liability to future beneficiaries. This program will provide you with a practical guide to techniques for fixing broken irrevocable trusts.

  • Trust reformation by agreement of all stakeholder 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 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.

Stephen W. Murphy is an attorney in the Charlottesville, Virginia office of McGuireWoods, LLP, where his practice concentrates primarily on estate planning, trust and estate administration, real estate, and business law. He is a  lecturer-in-law at the University of Virginia School of Law where he teaches trust and estate administration and professor of law at Washington & Lee University School of Law where he teaches statutory interpretation.  Mr. Murphy received his B.A. from the University of Maryland, his M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge, his PhD from University of Virginia, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.