Part 19 of Probate in Washington, DC: Trust Cases Filed in the Probate Division
Welcome back to our series on probate in Washington DC! The Gormley Law Office is a full-service probate law firm available to help you with probates, trusts, pet trusts, conservator/guardianship cases, and just about any type of probate case. Call us today at 1.240.514.2358 to discuss your situation, or send us a message using the Contact Us feature below!
A trust is created when property is held by one person or entity for the benefit of another or others. Trusts are used for estate planning, and they allow you to place specific conditions/restrictions on how and when your assets are distributed after your death, reduce the amount you pay in estate and gift taxes, and distribute assets to heirs without cost, delay and filing in the probate court. We’ll talk more about trusts in a future series of articles.
However, there are times when the Probate Court needs to get involved, and there are two types of trust cases filed in the Probate Division: Trusts and Notice of Revocable Trust.
Note: trusts can be complicated, so give us a call to discuss your situation before proceeding in trust matters.
There are three types of petitions that may be filed in a trust case.
Petition for Appointment of Successor, Substitute, or Additional Trustee. This petition is filed when the terms of the trust instrument do not provide a mechanism to add or replace a trustee and either a vacancy in the trusteeship has occurred (e.g., because of death of the trustee or because a trustee needs to resign) or an additional trustee is desired. SCR-PD 202(c) requires notice to parties and all affected persons. Written consents to the petition, if filed, will expedite the processing of the petition. Forms for the petition and consent are not available on the court’s website.
Petition to Establish Supplemental (or Special) Needs Trust. This petition is filed to obtain court approval to establish a trust that will preserve assets for a person under the age of 65 who is entitled to receive means-tested government benefits, such as Medicaid. The person who will be the trust beneficiary must be disabled as defined by federal law (42 U.S.C. 1396p(d)(4)), and the trust must be irrevocable. When such petitions are filed, a copy of the proposed trust and an order establishing trust should be attached. These petitions are usually set for a hearing. There is no form available on the Court’s website for this petition.
Complaint to Modify, Reform, Construe, or Terminate a Trust or to Remove a Trustee. Complaints are docketed in the Major Litigation (LIT) case type, but an underlying trust proceeding will be opened if one does not already exist and the two proceedings will be linked in the case tracking system.
Brian Gormley, Esq. is an attorney licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia specializing in real estate, probate, estate litigation and other matters. If you need assistance, please use the Contact Feature at the bottom of this page.