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What is decanting and how does it relate to trusts?

The term “decanting” sounds mysterious, but in reality, decanting is simply a form of trust modification initiated by a trustee. The trustee accomplishes the modification by moving assets from one trust to a new trust with different terms. Estate planning attorneys draft trusts designed to last for generations based on assumptions about the beneficiaries that may bear no semblance to reality. Decanting then stems from the desire to make changes to an otherwise irrevocable trust.

Gerry W. Beyer and Melissa J. Willms, “Decanting is not just for sommeliers,” Estate Planning Studies, July 2014

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