Q. There is a life-changing family trust that would go to my adult children when I die. We are not on good terms and they don’t know about it. Can I put explicitly in my will for the trust to skip a generation and go directly to my grandchildren?
A. If this was your money outright, you’d have more options.
But with a trust, there are limits.
Generally, you can not change the terms of a trust by directions set forth in your will, said Catherine Romania,an estate planning attorney with Witman Stadtmauer in Florham Park.
She said the only exception would be if the terms of the trust expressly provide and grant you a “power of appointment” to dispose of the property pursuant to your will.
“Even then, the power of appointment may limit the ways you may dispose of the trust property,” Romania said.
Assuming you were not granted a power of appointment, depending on the type of trust and the terms of the trust, there may be other ways to accomplish your intended results, she said.
Also to consider: There may be significant tax issues resulting from distributions and/or accumulations of trust income and/or principal.
For these reasons, Romania said it would be important for you to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney before taking any action.
Email your questions to moc.p1548028418leHye1548028418noMJN1548028418@ksA1548028418.