Can the pay-out terms of a trust be changed?

1 answer | Last updated: Jul 02, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

I have a generation skipping trust. Can I get the funds out somehow? My two lawyers say that the will says that I have to get payed at least once a year but it doesn't. If I can't get payed once a month, could I, at least, get payed more than once a year?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Lawyers are only human—some even say subhuman—and so we make mistakes. But it’s rather a concern here that not one but two lawyers have actually eyeballed the documents that control your situation and have come to the same conclusion. Ask them to clarify and explain exactly how and why they came to their legal conclusions; that is part of good lawyering.

If you are the income beneficiary of a generation-skipping trust—a legal arrangement that allows a second generation of beneficiaries to get the income from trust property and the third generation to later get the trust property outright—the trust document should specify how often the income will be paid and whether there are additional restrictions on it.

Many such trusts include a clause that allows beneficiaries to get income when objectively needed for “their health, education, support or maintenance.” To get such discretionary disbursements however, you would need to convince the trustee of the trust that they are necessary.