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The Rise of Trust Decanting in the United States

23 Trusts & Trustees (2017, Forthcoming)

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 17-46

8 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2017  

Robert H. Sitkoff

Harvard Law School

Date Written: September 24, 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 (September 24, 2017). 23 Trusts & Trustees (2017, Forthcoming); Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 17-46. Available at SSRN:

Robert Sitkoff (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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