Equitable deviation available to create special needs trust

This is a great case:

Ralph A. Riddell, appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to modify the trust and create a special needs trust on behalf of a trust beneficiary, his daughter, Nancy I. Dexter, who suffers from schizophrenia affective disorder and bipolar disorder.

Ralph’s deceased father and mother each established a trust which were consolidated by the court. The terms of the trust are that at Ralph’s death, the trust will terminate and Nancy (Ralph’s disabled daughter) will receive payment of her portion of the trust proceeds. Ralph argued that the trial court has the power to modify the trust; that his daughter’s disabilities are a changed and unanticipated condition; and that the purpose of the settlor will be preserved through the modification. The Washington Appellate Court agreed and remanded the matter to the trial court to reconsider an equitable deviation in light of changed circumstances and the settlors’ intent that the beneficiaries receive both medical care and general support from the trust’s funds.

The court also noted that the state encourages the creation of special needs trusts and that the trial court erred in considering the potential loss to the state by the creation of the special needs trust.

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