Creating an estate plan is an important process that every individual should undergo in order to ensure that his affairs are properly taken care of. Estate plans are typically crafted based upon the specific goals of the individual. Over time, these goals may change, and trusts should be modified to change with them. If you decide that it is time for a trust modification because your goals have changed, there is more to consider.
Considerations for Updating a Trust to Reflect New Goals
While you are preparing to update your trust to reflect your new goals, consider the following:
- Are your beneficiaries still the same? Has your family grown, or have people predeceased you?
- Do you want to keep the same people as trustees in light of your new estate planning goals? Perhaps there is someone in your life who may be better suited to filling this role—depending on what your specific goals are.
- Has your city of residence changed? For example, if you lived in Anaheim when you created your estate plan but moved to another city in Orange County since that time, your trust should be revised to state the correct information.
- How old are your other estate planning documents? In many cases, it makes sense to update your Advance Directive and Durable Power of Attorney whenever you are updating your other estate planning documents in order to keep them current. This is true even when these documents are minimally impacted by your changed goals.
- Has your marital status changed? If so, while you are modifying your trust to match your new goals, you should also add or a remove your spouse, depending on your specific circumstances.
Since most people creating estate plans do not have an extensive background in this highly technical and often-changing field, it is important to stay in touch with your legal advisors in order to know when a trust modification is a good idea. One way of keeping in contact with our firm is to sign up for our free, regular newsletter. This newsletter contains valuable information about creating, modifying, and administering trusts and estates in California.