A few years ago, Bob and Mary established a revocable living trust. They’ve been careful to transfer all the appropriate property into their trust, so they’re confident that their assets will be distributed according to the trust terms when they pass away.
So, what happens when they need to change the terms of their trust? Let’s say Bob and Mary’s only son recently won several million dollars in the lottery, and he has let them know he would prefer that they leave their estate to charity, rather than leaving it all to him as originally planned. In this situation, Bob and Mary’s estate planning attorney would likely draw up a Trust Restatement – a document used to officially make large changes (or a collection of small changes) to the existing terms of a trust. A Trust Restatement does just what it sounds like: it “re-states” the terms of the trust, while keeping the original name and establishment date of the trust. So, property that has already been transferred into the trust retains its status as trust property.
What if Bob and Mary don’t need to make big changes to their trust, but they need to make a small adjustment? For instance, what if the successor trustee originally chosen to administer the trust after Bob and Mary’s deaths becomes disabled or passes away himself? In order to name a different successor trustee, Bob and Mary’s attorney might choose to use a document known as a Trust Amendment, which changes one of the specific terms of the trust, while leaving all other trust terms as they were.
If you need to make changes to your revocable living trust, be sure to consult with your estate planning attorney. He or she can help to ensure that your desired changes are accomplished in an effective manner.
The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.