when i was 18 i started a revokable living trust in my name. The document states that i can amend the contract, but only at the discretion of the trustees. This term, " at the discretion of the trustees" , is used over and over again, preventing almost all 'benefits' that Massachusetts trust law provides. i am now married with a child and wish to pursue a phd in social work. my trustees are being unreasonable, refusing to provide financial assistance for both living expenses and tuition because the university i want to attend is in N.Y. state. Due to Massachusetts tax law, the income made by the trust is considered personal income. this prevents me from obtaining financial aid due to the size of the trust amount. shouldn't i be allowed to amend the trust, omitting the term " at the discretion of the trustees" where it clearly takes away the original purpose and benefits of a living revokable trust ? (at their discretion)
This is a "discretionary trust" and the trustees have full discretion to provide assistance. You do not want to be able to make discretionary decisions for tax reasons. (you would pay tax on the entire corpus of the trust) If you receive income from the trust but paying principal is discretionary, discuss the situation with the trustees and provide a realistic estimate of what you would need to complete your education. Also, discuss this with your attorney.
It is difficult to answer accurately due to possible misunderstandings. You say you started a "revocable living trust," but it sounds like you are describing a scenario where you are the beneficiary of a revocable living trust. If that is the case, are the grantors (the people who created the trust) still alive? If yes, they are not compelled to provide anything. If no, then the trust became irrevocable upon the death of the grantors, and the trustees may be required to make distributions according to ascertainable standards such as health, education, maintenance, and support.
You should contact an estate planning attorney for a review of the trust so that they may advise you of your rights.
If you are the creator/grantor of your revocable living trust, you have the retained power to amend or revoke the trust at any time. An estate planning attorney can assist with the drafting of the amended or restated trust.
I think that you will need an attorney to take a look at the trust terms. If you created a trust that you can only amend with the permission of the Trustees your options may be limited. The trust may itself have terms which allow you to remove and replace Trustees which could allow you to find new trustees that will be more generous. You could also ask the Trustees to voluntarily resign. Failing this, your only option may be to file a complaint with the court to ask them to remove the Trustees.
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