Olivia R. Holcombe-Volke, Esq., Associate- Elville and Associates writes:
Recent changes in Maryland law highlight the importance of an ongoing relationship between a trustee and the attorney who drafted the trust document. With the Maryland Trust Act going into effect on January 1, 2015, there are several new statutory requirements with which a Maryland trustee must comply, including providing notice to certain beneficiaries, and responding to requests for information. While a trust document can and regularly does provide a comprehensive roadmap for a trustee to follow, it is not always advisable or possible to include every aspect of the legal requirements, standards, and methods for administering a trust in the trust document itself. In fact, the constant reference in trust documents to “except as otherwise provided by law” are more important than they may seem, in that there are frequently legal requirements set forth in the statutes themselves that may not appear in the trust document. Thus, the recent enactment of the Maryland Trust Act, and the changes to the law that come with it, underscore the importance of a continuing relationship between a trustee and the drafting attorney. While these current changes may not be radically significant, in and of themselves, they affirm the reality that the one guarantee in the law is that it is subject to change – and the role of a good estate planning attorney is to assist and advise, throughout these inevitable changes in law.