The Rise of Trust Decanting in the United States

23 Trusts & Trustees 976 (December 2017)

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 17-46

7 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2017 Last revised: 22 Jan 2018

Date Written: December 1, 2017


In a trust decanting, a trustee who under the terms of a trust (the first trust) has a discretionary power over distribution uses that power to distribute the trust property to a new trust (the second trust) with updated provisions, leaving behind the sediment of the first trust’s stale provisions. This article canvasses the rise of trust decanting in American trust practice, taking notice of its common law origins, its contrast with traditional American doctrine on trust modification and termination, the proliferation of state trust decanting statutes, and several areas of doctrinal divergence across the states.

Keywords: trusts, trust law, trust decanting, trust modification, trust fiduciary, trust distribution

JEL Classification: K11, K34

Suggested Citation

Sitkoff, Robert H., The Rise of Trust Decanting in the United States (December 1, 2017). 23 Trusts & Trustees 976 (December 2017); Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 17-46. Available at SSRN:

Robert H. Sitkoff (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(617) 384-8386 (Phone)
(617) 812-6195 (Fax)


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