A living trust, commonly referred to as a revocable trust, is a written legal document that places assets into a trust for a life-long benefit. Commonly, people place homes, bank accounts, and stocks into trusts. Additionally, a revocable trust allows you to name yourself as the trustee throughout your lifetime in order to retain control of your assets. Then, upon your death, the trust becomes irrevocable and is transferred to a designated beneficiary. However, how often should you update your living trust, and how can you do it without a lawyer?

Why Revise a Living Trust?

A trustor may revise a revocable trust when life circumstances change. Typically, revocable trusts are revised to add or change an intended beneficiary or to address domestic matters. For example, you should update your living trust if any of the following events occur:

  • Wedding or divorce
  • Change in residency status
  • Change in financial status
  • Trustee’s or beneficiary’s death
  • New tax laws impact trust assets

In addition, you should also update your trust’s schedule of assets every five years to add any newly acquired assets and remove assets you have disposed of. That said, trustors may revoke or amend their trust at any time as long as they are mentally competent. Plus, updating your trust is beneficial to reduce the chances of your property passing through probate.

When to Update a Last Will & Testament

In a last will and testament, a person specifies which individuals, or beneficiaries, will receive their property and possessions upon death. A person prepares their last will and testament while they are still living. Then, the executor of the estate carries out the wishes identified in the will. The probate court supervises the executor of the estate to ensure they lawfully distribute all property and possessions.

You should update your last will and testament when the following life events occur:

  • Tax law changes impact estate assets
  • Inheriting assets from family members or friends
  • Selling or buying a business
  • Retirement
  • Buying or selling real estate
  • Financial setbacks
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Birth of first child or grandchild
  • Welcoming new in-laws into the family
  • Death or incapacity of a spouse, child, or grandchild
  • Unforeseen medical expenses
  • Moving to a new state

Any of the life-changing events mentioned above can have a direct impact on your last will and testament. Unfortunately, if you leave assets outside of your living trust, it will have to go through the probate process after your death.

Contact A People’s Choice to Update Your Will and Trust in California

Ultimately, you should never go prolonged periods of time without revisiting your estate plan. In fact, you should review your estate plan every few years to ensure you don’t need to make any changes. However, if you are thinking about making a revision, or creating a living trust or will and last testament, contact A People’s Choice. Our estate planning services can help you secure your loved ones’ financial futures upon your death.

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