blog3Trusts, or parts of trusts, may terminate under any of the following conditions:

  • The trust or part of the trust is revoked;
  • The trust or part of the trust expires pursuant to its terms;
  • No trust purpose remains to be achieved; or
  • The trust purposes have become unlawful, contrary to public policy, or impossible to achieve.

Further, trustees or beneficiaries may commence proceedings to modify or terminate trusts in the following circumstances:

  • If the trust is a noncharitable irrevocable trust, by consent of settlor and all beneficiaries.
    • This proceeding may also be commenced by a settlor.
  • If the trust is a noncharitable irrevocable trust, by consent of all beneficiaries if a termination would not be inconsistent with any material purpose of the trust, or if a modification would not be inconsistent with a material purpose of the trust.
    • This proceeding may also be commenced by a settlor.
  • If modification or termination would further the purposes of the trust because of circumstances not anticipated by the settlor. Modifications must be in accordance with the settlor’s probable intentions, to the extent practicable. 
  • If, without modification of the trust’s administrative terms, continuation of the trust according to its terms would be impracticable, wasteful, or impair the trust’s administration. 
  • If a charitable trust does not otherwise fail in whole or in part and does not revert to the settlor, and a particular charitable purpose becomes unlawful, impracticable, impossible to achieve or wasteful, then the court may modify or terminate the trust by directing a different distribution consistent with the settlor’s charitable purposes. The court cannot order these distributions if the trust provides for the property to revert to a noncharitable purpose, so long as the property is to revert to the still-living settlor, or if it has been fewer than 21 years since the trust’s creation.
    • This proceeding may also be commenced by a settlor.
  • If the trust has fewer than $100,000 in assets, a trustee may terminate the trust after notice to the beneficiaries if it concludes that the trust’s value is insufficient to justify administration costs. A court may also modify or terminate the trust or remove or replace the trustee if it deems the trust value too low to justify administration costs. 
  • If the court determines that the settlor’s intent and the trust terms were affected by a mistake of fact or law, it may reform terms of a trust to conform to the settlor’s intention, even if the terms are unambiguous. 
  • The court may modify a trust’s terms, even retroactively, to achieve the settlor’s tax objectives. 
  • Trustees may combine two or more trusts into a single trust, or divide a trust into two or more separate trusts, after notice to beneficiaries, as long as the result does not impair the beneficiaries’ rights or adversely affect the purposes of the trust.



This article is informational and does not contain legal advice. If you would like to ensure your property is distributed according to your wishes, please seek advice from an estate planning professional.

Content adapted from Mr. Melling’s book: The Utah Uniform Probate Code: A Quick-Reference Guide for Practitioners and Students.