A potential client said, “you’re the lawyer who busts trusts.” Busting a Florida trust was her non-lawyer way of describing trust termination/modification. Florida law has three major trust code sections that allow a person to “bust a trust” (trust modification is the term lawyers use) in the event certain events or conditions occur.
For example, 736.04113 of the Florida Trust Code provides for judicial modification of irrevocable trusts when modification is not inconsistent with settlor’s purpose.
Some of the grounds that will allow judicial modification of an irrevocable trust include:
(1) Upon the application of a trustee of the trust or any qualified beneficiary, a court at any time may modify the terms of a trust that is not then revocable in the manner provided in subsection (2), if:
(a) The purposes of the trust have been fulfilled or have become illegal, impossible, wasteful, or impracticable to fulfill;
(b) Because of circumstances not anticipated by the settlor, compliance with the terms of the trust would defeat or substantially impair the accomplishment of a material purpose of the trust; or
(c) A material purpose of the trust no longer exists.
(2) In modifying a trust under this section, a court may:
(a) Amend or change the terms of the trust, including terms governing distribution of the trust income or principal or terms governing administration of the trust;
(b) Terminate the trust in whole or in part;
(c) Direct or permit the trustee to do acts that are not authorized or that are prohibited by the terms of the trust; or
(d) Prohibit the trustee from performing acts that are permitted or required by the terms of the trust.
As you can see, the bolded section above allows for a trust to be terminated in whole or in part. So can Florida lawyers bust a trust? The answer is clearly yes.