Over time, the need may arise to update your estate plan. If you have a living trust as part of your plan, it is likely that the trust needs to be modified as well. Trust amendments are not overly burdensome and can be accomplished quickly. There are certain important considerations, however, that should be made prior to execution.
Consider These Important Items Before Amending Your Trust
When evaluating the need for an update to your living trust, consider the following:
- Carefully review the terms of the existing trust and pinpoint the sections that no longer align with your goals or needs.
- Discuss with your attorney whether there are options available that would better accomplish these goals or satisfy your needs.
- If you decide that a provision should be replaced, carefully craft the exact wording that you would like to use, and incorporate it into your amendment.
- If you decide that the provision should just be removed, assess with your attorney whether that creates any gaps or holes in your trust overall that need to be dealt with.
- Review the proposed amendment with your attorney, and possibly your tax advisor as well. It is important to understand any tax ramifications upfront, though typically amending a living trust should not create a tax problem.
- Ensure that any person or entity who is keeping a copy of your trust understands that the trust has been amended. It is important to provide this person or entity with a copy of such amendment.
- Consider having the amendment notarized to avoid any questions about the validity of your signature later.
Amending a trust is a common and important part of the estate planning process. To learn more, we encourage you to check out our free guide, The Ten Things You Must Know Before Creating (or Amending) Your Will or Trust.