Can You Break a Family Trust?

by Charlie Gaston ; Updated July 27, 2017

Often, a family trust is set up to benefit minor children once they become of legal age. If you decide to break a family trust due to a divorce, a new marriage or the birth of a new child, you can do so in just a few steps. The process requires some legwork, but once the paperwork is complete the trust is legally closed. Your property will be returned to you shortly thereafter.

Identification

You can break a family trust; however, the person who set up the trust, known as the trust grantor, would need to permit such a change at the start of the trust. The revocability of a trust is set when an original trust document is created. If a trust is irrevocable, meaning it cannot be revoked or modified once created, the trust grantor must receive written consent from trust beneficiaries to break the trust.

Living Trust Revocation Form

To break a family trust, you must complete a living trust revocation form, which is used to revoke a revocable family trust. The form identifies the parties involved in the trust, the property owned by the trust and the date on which the trust will be closed. The trust grantor must sign and date the form and have it notarized by a notary public. Either the trust grantor or a trustee can provide written notice of revocation to the beneficiaries of the trust.

Trust Property

Once a family trust is revoked, the successor trustee must return all trust property to the trust grantor in a timely manner. The successor trustee can convey property back to the trust grantor using an assignment form, which is a legal instrument by which trust property is transferred from one entity to another. The form is not effective without the trust grantor’s signature.

Amendment Form

If you only want to break or modify a trust document, you can do so by filling out a revocable family trust amendment form. You must include the names of the parties involved in the trust, the effective date of the original trust document and the article number you wish to revoke or modify. Sign and date the form and provide a copy to the trustee to put in a trust portfolio.

About the Author

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.