Amending a Trust

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How Can I Amend My Trust?

Trusts can be modified through amendments when you want to change or add beneficiaries, change disposition of assets in the trust, or change trustees. Amendments are made by a writing, called an amendment to the trust, which explains the changes, specifies the new additions or deletions, and then is signed and dated by you. You should never detach a page from the trust document, retype it to include the new information, and put it back in, because this could invite a legal challenge from a disgruntled nonbeneficiary or require a court's interpretation of the trust.

Do I Have to Write an Amendment to Add Property to My Trust?

If you simply want to add property to the trust, you don't have to write an amendment. A properly drafted trust will contain language giving you the right to include property acquired after the trust is drafted. You simply make sure the new property is titled as being owned by the trust and list it on the schedule of assets in the trust. However, you do have to amend the trust if the newly acquired property is going to a different beneficiary than the one already named in the trust, or if the trust has more than one beneficiary listed.

What If I Want to Make Major Changes to My Trust?

If you want to make major changes to your trust, you can either revoke the trust or restate the trust in its entirety, with all the changes in the restated version. Occasionally, when a trust is revoked and replaced with another one, all the assets will not be transferred from the old trust to the new one.  Restating a trust makes sure that all the assets remain in the trust and new ones are added.

Should I Consult an Attorney about Amending My Trust?

Trusts can be complicated documents and circumstances often arise which require a trust to be amended. If you need your trust amended, an estate planning lawyer can help execute the proper documents and ensure amendments are done properly so that you avoid legal problems.

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Last Modified: 09-12-2014 03:46 PM PDT

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