How to Amend a Living Trust
A living trust is a legal document that explains how your property will be controlled while you are living and how it will be distributed upon your passing. With this purpose in mind, when considering how to amend a living trust, you need to first decide what it is you want to change in your trust. First, amending your living trust allows you to change sections of the original trust. In this regard, you may want to amend your living trust to add or remove assets, change the successor trustee, add a new beneficiary, or remove a beneficiary such as a former spouse after a divorce.
Although this may be true, sometimes it is better to prepare a trust restatement. A trust restatement is a super amendment and creates an entirely new trust document. On the other hand, when you amend a living trust, you create different parts to the trust which then need to be put together and viewed as a whole document. Keep in mind, multiple amendments can make your trust complicated. In other words, many amendments to a trust can make sorting through the trust provisions a difficult task. Every trust agreement should contain a clause on the requirements to amend the trust. Accordingly, if you created a revocable trust, you can revoke the trust and create a new one or you can create a restatement of your trust.
First and foremost, never alter original trust documents as doing so may invalidate the document. Furthermore, if you do need to amend a trust, the changes should be made in trust amendment which will be a separate legal document. Finally, to amend a trust, follow these steps to begin the process:
Step 1. First, Find the original living trust.
Step 2. Next, Identify the clauses you would like to change.
Step 3. Contact A People’s Choice to find out how you can change the clauses. We can draft a trust amendment to remove or revise the existing language. We will need a copy of the original trust agreement so we can name which article in the trust allows for amendments and specifically state how you are changing the article.
Susan wanted to add her new step-daughter as a beneficiary to her trust. In this regard, Article 13 of the trust allowed her to amend her living trust. Susan worked with A People’s Choice citing article 13 as the authority to make a change via amendment to her living trust and made the necessary changes to the trust provisions to add in her step-daughter as a designated beneficiary.
Step 4. Most estate planning documents need notarization. In this regard, the trust settlor is required to appear before a notary to notarize the trust amendment. If it is a couple’s trust, both parties will be required to sign and date the amendment and provide proper identification to confirm their identity.
Step 5. Lastly, attach the trust amendment to the original trust. Although not necessary, you may want to provide copies of the amendment to any interested parties. Keep in mind, you should store your estate documents including the original trust and amendment in a secure place. Another key point, a trust is a personal document, and it is not necessary to file the amended trust document with any other agency.
Contact A People’s Choice today to find out more information on how to amend a living trust.
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