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Legal How-To: Revising or Amending Your Living Trust

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on December 16, 2014 9:04 AM

Like most estate planning tools, a living trust may require revisions or amendments from time to time.

Fortunately, modifying a revocable trust is often fairly straightforward. Similar to revising a will, the exact laws for amending or revising a living trust may vary from state to state. Generally however, there are some basic guidelines for how to go about make changes to your living trust.

So how do you revise or amend a living trust? Here's some info to get you started:

Trust Amendments

Minor changes to a living trust can typically be made using a trust amendment. This document can be used to make changes to a trust, such as adding or deleting beneficiaries, without making changes to the other provisions of the trust.

A trust amendment must specify the changes being made to the trust and be signed and dated by the person amending the trust. Although having your signature notarized may not be required by law, it may still be a good idea to do so. The amendment should then be delivered to anyone with a copy of the original trust.

Failure to follow the formalities required in amending your trust may result in the amendment being found invalid if it is challenged following your death.

Trust Restatement

If you have already made several amendments to your trust or need to make more substantial changes to the terms of the trust, then you may need a trust restatement. A trust restatement consolidates a number of changes to a trust in a new, restated version while ensuring that the trust retains all the assets contained in the original.

As with trust amendments, failing to follow the formalities required by the laws in your state in executing a trust restatement may result in the restatement being found invalid if challenged following your death.

Need More Help?

While it may sound simple to change your trust on your own, it may be wise to consult an estate planning professional to make sure you're doing it right. If you have questions on how to amend, revise, restate, or revoke a living trust, an experienced trusts lawyer can advise you on how best to proceed.

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