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Modifying Your Living Trust

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Many people planning their estates create a living trust for their loved ones. Living trusts are a great way to pass on your assets to your beneficiaries, while sidestepping the expense, delay and complexities of probate. However, trusts can be difficult to properly design.

Life is constantly changing and unforeseeable events often arise. For this reason, most people have to modify their trusts multiple times. You are allowed to modify your trust as long as it is a revocable trust.  You should think about your Trust as an organic, living document and you should review it at least every 2-3 years.

Reasons for Amending Your Living Trust 

Typically, it is necessary to revise a living trust in the event of any significant change in your life. Some of these significant changes could include the following:

  • Getting married or divorced: After getting a divorce, you should remove your ex’s name from your trust. If you fail to do this, your ex could inherit whatever assets you were planning on passing on to him or her before the divorce. Additionally, if you get married or remarried, and decide to include your spouse, you should amend your trust.
  • A change in one of your beneficiary’s statuses: You may have a new child or grandchild. On the other hand, a beneficiary may pass away.
  • An alteration in the distribution: You may decide to alter how, when or how much of your beneficiaries receive. Beneficiaries’ circumstances change from time to time. Thus, you may decide to give a struggling son or daughter more money.
  • A modification of the successor trustee: The successor trustee’s job is to satisfy the conditions of after you pass away. The successor trustee plays a key role, and it must be handled by someone that you can trust 100%. If you have even the slightest doubt about your trustee’s morals or capabilities you should consider a modification.
  • Acquiring new property: If you acquire new property, you should add it to your trust. Notwithstanding, if you sell a property, you have to take it off the trust.
  • A change in the current laws: Laws are always changing, if a new legal benefit emerges or one is revoked by either California or federal law, it would be wise to modify your trust accordingly.

How to Change Your Trust

After deciding to change your trust, the process is relatively clear-cut.

  • Step 1: Reread your trust and make certain that your changes with abide with the rules.
  • Step 2: Complete an amendment form. Be as detailed as possible when drafting the amendment.
  • Step 3: After drafting the amendment, sign it and get it notarized
  • Step 4: Attach a copy of the amendment to the trust.

Note: amending a trust is no easy task. Writing an amendment that will hold up if challenged in court is difficult. That is why we always recommend consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney first.

Let Us Help You Today 

There are numerous reasons that people have for amending their trusts. Carefully reviewing your trust with an experienced Walnut Creek estate planning attorney is particularly important after you go through significant life events.

If you do not have a trust already, we recommend hiring the Feldman Law Group to assist you. In order to protect your loved ones and assets, we can carefully develop a trust based on your objectives.

Contact us online or call now at 925-283-6691 to discuss the modification of your living trust further.

Resource:

oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/estate-finance

irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopica03.pdf

https://www.feldmanlawgroup.com/guide-to-removing-a-trustee/

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