Document Type


Publication Date

January 2005


The adoption of the Ohio Uniform Trust Code (the “OUTC” or “the Code”) will constitute a comprehensive codification of trust law in Ohio. Among the many subjects it covers are the modification and termination of trusts. As noted in a comment to the national Uniform Trust Code (the “UTC”), “the overall objective of these [modification and termination] sections is to enhance flexibility consistent with the principle that preserving the settlor’s intent is paramount.” Given such factors as the increased use of trusts in recent years (including trusts created by non-lawyers and lawyers who do not specialize in estate planning); the ability to create trusts that can last, at least theoretically, forever due to the ability of trust settlors to opt out of the Rule Against Perpetuities; the uncertain future of wealth transfer taxes; and the inevitable reality that circumstances will change during the administration of a trust in ways the settlor did not anticipate, the increased flexibility afforded by the OUTC’s modification and termination provisions may result in these provisions being among the Code’s most useful to beneficiaries, settlors, trustees, and the lawyers who represent them. Further, Ohio’s current rules on the modification and termination of trusts are not easily located as they are found, for the most part, in case law. Thus, an additional benefit of the OUTC with respect to this subject will be making the governing rules on modifying and terminating trusts more accessible and clear.

This article has two primary objectives. First, it reviews the OUTC’s provisions that address the modification and termination of trusts. Second, it discusses how those provisions will affect existing Ohio law. For the most part, the OUTC’s modification and termination provisions are found in Chapter 5804, and they are the focus of this article. Sections of other chapters of the Code will also affect its modification and termination provisions, however, and they too are discussed. Finally, this article covers only the OUTC’s provisions dealing with the modification and termination of irrevocable trusts.

Publication Title

Probate Law Journal of Ohio

First Page



Copyright Acknowledgment: This material is reprinted from the Probate Law Journal of Ohio with permission of Thomson Reuters. Copyright permission is on file.