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do trusts expire

Do trusts have an expiration date after the death of the grantor?  For most states, the answer is “Yes”.  New York is one of those states that have adopted “The Rule Against Perpetuities” which requires all of the assets to be distributed from the trust by a specified date.

The Rule Against Perpetuities

For most states, the trust assets have to be distributed no later than the “lifetime of those then living plus 21 years.”   In other words, the trust asset must be distributed 21 years after the death of the youngest beneficiary listed in the trust document.   For example, if I setup a trust with my children listed as beneficiaries, after my passing the trust assets would have to be distributed no later than 21 years following the death of my youngest child.

Per Stirpes Beneficiaries

Some trust documents have the children listed as beneficiaries “per stirpes”.  This mean that if a child is no longer alive their share of the trust passes to their heirs.  In many cases their children.  If the beneficiaries are listed in the trust document as per stirpes beneficiaries then you may be able to make the argument that the “youngest beneficiary” is really the grandchildren not the children which will allow the trust to retain the assets for a longer period of time.  Typically trusts do not allow the perpetuity rule to extend beyond their grandchildren.

Consult An Estate Attorney

Trust can be tricky and the language in a trust document is not always black and white,  so it’s highly recommended that you consult with an estate attorney that is familiar with the estate laws for you state of residence and can review the terms of the trust document.

DISCLOSURE:  The information listed above is not legal advice. For legal advice, please consult your attorney.


Michael Ruger

About Michael………

Hi, I’m Michael Ruger. I’m the managing partner of Greenbush Financial Group and the creator of the nationally recognized Money Smart Board blog . I created the blog because there are a lot of events in life that require important financial decisions. The goal is to help our readers avoid big financial missteps, discover financial solutions that they were not aware of, and to optimize their financial future.

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