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The Impact of New York's Decanting Statute on the Ability to Modify a Trust

New York's decanting statute offers an innovative tool in estate planning, providing flexibility to adapt trusts to changing circumstances. Understanding and utilizing this statute can be particularly beneficial for high-net-worth clients in New York State.

Decanting Overview

Decanting a trust involves transferring assets from an existing trust into a new trust with different terms. This process allows for modifications to the trust without the need for court approval, assuming certain conditions are met.

New York's Legal Framework

Under the New York Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law (EPTL) Section 10-6.6, trustees are granted the power to decant a trust, subject to specific rules and limitations. The statute outlines the circumstances under which decanting is permissible and the procedural steps required.

Strategic Uses of Decanting

Decanting can be strategically employed to address changes in law, adapt to new family circumstances, or optimize for tax purposes. For instance, it can be used to change trustee provisions, alter distributions to beneficiaries, or incorporate new tax planning strategies.

Considerations and Limitations

While decanting offers flexibility, it's not without its limitations. Trustees must consider the potential tax implications and ensure that the decanting process aligns with their fiduciary duties. Furthermore, decanting cannot be used to alter the irrevocable aspects of a trust or the essential purpose of the original trust.

Case Examples

To illustrate, consider a trust established decades ago when the tax laws were different. Decanting could be used to update the trust terms to reflect current tax laws, potentially resulting in significant tax savings for the beneficiaries.


The decanting statute in New York provides an essential tool for estate planners, offering a way to adapt to the ever-changing legal and personal landscapes. Understanding and utilizing this tool can significantly enhance the effectiveness and flexibility of trust planning. You can call us at 516-570-4016 to discuss your options and update your plan.