Sunday, March 15, 2015


(a) A will may validly devise property to the trustee of a trust established or to be established (i) during the testator’s lifetime by the testator, by the testator and some other person,
or by some other person, including a funded or unfunded life insurance trust, although the settlor has reserved any or all rights of ownership of the insurance contracts, or (ii) at the testator’s death by the testator’s devise to the trustee, if the trust is identified in the testator’s will and its terms are set forth in a written instrument, other than a will, executed before, concurrently with, or after the execution of the testator’s will or in another individual’s will if that other individual has predeceased the testator, regardless of the existence, size, or character of the corpus of the trust. The devise is not invalid because the trust is amendable or revocable, or because the trust was amended after the execution of the will or the testator’s death.
(b) Unless the testator’s will provides otherwise, property devised to a trust described in subsection (a) is not held under a testamentary trust of the testator, but it becomes a part of the trust to which it is devised, and must be administered and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the governing instrument setting forth the terms of the trust, including any amendments thereto made before or after the testator’s death.
(c) Unless the testator’s will provides otherwise, a revocation or termination of the trust before the testator’s death causes the devise to lapse.
This section, which was last revised in 1990, was codified separately in 1991 as the free- standing Uniform Testamentary Additions to Trusts Act (1991). In addition to making a few stylistic changes, several substantive changes to this section were made in the 1990 revision.
As revised, it has been made clear that the “trust” need not have been established (funded with a trust res) during the decedent’s lifetime, but can be established (funded with a res) by the devise itself. The pre-1990 version probably contemplated this result and reasonably could be so interpreted (because of the phrase “regardless of the existence...of the corpus of the trust”). Indeed, a few cases have expressly stated that statutory language like the pre-1990 version of this section authorizes pour-over devises to unfunded trusts. E.g., Clymer v. Mayo, 473 N.E.2d 1084 (Mass.1985); Trosch v. Maryland Nat’l Bank, 32 Md. App. 249, 359 A.2d 564 (1976). The authority of these pronouncements is problematic, however, because the trusts in these cases were so-called “unfunded” life-insurance trusts. An unfunded life-insurance trust is not a trust without a trust res; the trust res in an unfunded life-insurance trust is the contract right to the

proceeds of the life-insurance policy conferred on the trustee by virtue of naming the trustee the beneficiary of the policy. See Gordon v. Portland Trust Bank, 201 Or. 648, 271 P.2d 653 (1954) (“[T]he [trustee as the] beneficiary [of the policy] is the owner of a promise to pay the proceeds at the death of the insured....”); Gurnett v. Mutual Life Ins. Co., 356 Ill. 612, 191 N.E. 250 (1934). Thus, the term “unfunded life-insurance trust” does not refer to an unfunded trust, but to a funded trust that has not received additional funding. For further indication of the problematic nature of the idea that the pre-1990 version of this section permits pour-over devises to unfunded trusts, see Estate of Daniels, 665 P.2d 594 (Colo.1983) (pour-over devise failed; before signing the trust instrument, the decedent was advised by counsel that the “mere signing of the trust agreement would not activate it and that, before the trust could come into being, [the decedent] would have to fund it;” decedent then signed the trust agreement and returned it to counsel “to wait for further directions on it;” no further action was taken by the decedent prior to death; the decedent’s will devised the residue of her estate to the trustee of the trust, but added that the residue should go elsewhere “if the trust created by said agreement is not in effect at my death.”)
Additional revisions of this section are designed to remove obstacles to carrying out the decedent’s intention that were contained in the pre-1990 version. These revisions allow the trust terms to be set forth in a written instrument executed after as well as before or concurrently with the execution of the will; require the devised property to be administered in accordance with the terms of the trust as amended after as well as before the decedent’s death, even though the decedent’s will does not so provide; and allow the decedent’s will to provide that the devise is not to lapse even if the trust is revoked or terminated before the decedent’s death.
Revision of Uniform Testamentary Additions to Trusts Act. The freestanding Uniform Testamentary Additions to Trusts Act (UTATA) was revised in 1991 in accordance with the revisions to UPC Section 2-511. States that enact Section 2-511 need not enact the UTATA as revised in 1991 and should repeal the original version of the UTATA if previously enacted in the state. 

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