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When The Power To Amend Doesn’t Actually Mean You Can Amend

October 20, 2016

Authors

Luke Lantta

When The Power To Amend Doesn’t Actually Mean You Can Amend

October 20, 2016

by: Luke Lantta

Circumstances, laws, and taxes all change.  And, when they do, many settlors don’t want their beneficiaries to have to go into court to get permission to roll with the changes.  That’s why you often find a trust provision that permits non-judicial amendments to the trust.  The breadth of these powers to amend differ from a narrow power to amend to a broad power to amend, like the one before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in Grueff v. Vito.  There, the power to amend a family trust provided:

This Agreement may be revoked, altered or amended from time to time by an instrument in writing, signed by the holders of not less than seventy-five (75%) interest herein and delivered to the Trustee.

The beneficiaries used that amendment power a number of times over the years.

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Alcoholism And Incapacity

May 24, 2013

Authors

Luke Lantta

Alcoholism And Incapacity

May 24, 2013

by: Luke Lantta

A common theme of plaintiffs in lack of capacity cases is that some kind of cognitive impairment, such as dementia, chronic alcoholism, or major depression, by itself indicates that the grantor or testator lacked the requisite capacity to create a trust or will, respectively.  In Dorsey v. Ratz (link from Justia), a Maryland federal court recently looked at whether the diagnosis of major depressive disorder and alcohol dependence suggested incompetence when it came to executing a change of beneficiary form on a life insurance policy.

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