After your spouse passes away, you may feel overwhelmed as you administer her estate while in the midst of mourning such a tremendous loss. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can help guide you through this process to ease some of the burden. In addition to administering the estate of your spouse, it is also important to remember to update your own estate plan. Many married couples are the primary beneficiaries and fiduciaries of each other’s estates. When one spouse passes, it is important to modify these documents, including living trusts in Orange County.

The following are five actions that you may consider taking as you attempt to update your estate plan after the loss of your spouse:

  1. If the trust remains revocable, you may amend it to revise any of the beneficiaries, successor trustees, or distributions originally written into the trust.
  2. If the revocable trust was previously using your spouse’s social security number, you should update the trust records to utilize your own social security number after your spouse has passed away.
  3. Consult with your Orange County living trust attorney to determine whether your plan was designed for you to make disclaimers for tax or other purposes. If it was, you must make these disclaimers within a certain period, making it important to act quickly.
  4. Retitle any assets that are now held in sub-trusts following your spouse’s passing.
  5. Remove your spouse’s name as a trustee on any assets held in the trust.

For more information about modifying an estate plan, view our free guide, The Ten Things You Must Know Before Creating (or Amending) Your Will or Trust. An experienced Orange County trust amendment attorney can help you navigate the estate modification process. 

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm
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