In Lackman v. McAnulty, 2015 Conn. Super. Lexis 1270, No. LLICV-146010910S, (Conn. Super. May 26, 2015), the court considered whether a parcel of land should pass through an inter vivos trust or by means of a will. In 2001, the decedent purported to transfer the property to a revocable trust. Approximately ten years later, the decedent executed a will in which he purported to bequeath a one-third interest in the property to each of the plaintiffs. The will did not identify or otherwise refer to the trust. Decedent died in January 2013, and the executrix took the position that the property was not probate property but instead was an asset of the trust that passed to the trust beneficiaries. The court held that the will did not constitute an effective recovation of the trust and, therefore, that the property was an asset of the trust and not the estate.
Noting that the Connecticut appellate courts had not addressed the issue, the court sided with the majority of courts in other jurisdictions and held that a subsequent will cannot modify a revocable trust. The court reasoned that a revocable trust can only be revoked by the settlor during his lifetime. It is, therefore, impossible for a will to revoke or modify a trust because it does not take effect until the settlor dies.