My clients often want to make changes to an irrevocable life insurance trust (“ILIT”). Fortunately, there are at least 6 methods for making changes to an ILIT.

I recently worked with a business owner who used 4 different techniques to restructure a series of ILITs that he established over a 25 year period. Two of the ILITs owned insurance on his life. Two other ILITs owned last-to-die policies insuring the business owner and his wife.


The first step was to create two new ILITs. The wife is a beneficiary of the new Family Trust which now owns the single life policies. The other new ILIT was designed as a Dynasty Trust and now owns the last-to-die policies, as well as one single life policy.


Next, the wife exercised a power to appoint the assets of one ILIT to the Dynasty Trust. The trustee of another ILIT used the leapfrog power of TCA Section 35-15-816(27) to distribute its policy to the Family Trust.


The trustee of a third ILIT merged that trust into the Dynasty Trust pursuant to TCA Section 35-15-417. Finally, the trustee of the fourth ILIT sold its policy to the Dynasty Trust, which was structured as a grantor trust in order to avoid potential income tax issues associated with this sale.


I would have preferred to use the same technique for moving all 4 of the old ILITs into the Family Trust and the Dynasty Trust. However, different techniques were required due to the specific wording of the trusts, and other factors including tax consequences. Even though it was complicated, the business owner accomplished his goals and several generations of his family will benefit from these changes.


Incidentally, the two techniques that we did not use were: (i) amending the trust pursuant to TCA Section 35-15-411; and (ii) buying a new policy, which was not a viable alternative due to the age of the policies involved and health changes that have occurred.

See the enclosed article (PDF) for more detail on these techniques.