Living trusts are a legal tool that many people use to manage and secure their assets – they’re often an essential component of your estate plan. However, perhaps you created a living trust years ago, and now you need to determine if you need to make any changes.
Amending a living trust is not uncommon, and it can ultimately improve how you manage your assets and keep things in line with your most current wishes. Is an amendment necessary? Are they difficult to do? Allow our trust attorneys to explain when the time is right to amend a living trust:
When Should You Make an Amendment to a Living Trust?
A good time is when a major change in your life occurs. These changes often involve the introduction of new family members, such as a spouse or newborn children. Listed below are some examples of life events that will compel you to contact your estate planning attorney:
- Change in marital status (marriage or divorce)
- Birth or adoption of children
- Death of a beneficiary
- Acquisition of property
- Changed wishes or a falling out with a named individual
- Relocation to a new state
Keep in mind that you can only make changes to a revocable trust, which means that the settlor can nullify or amend it at any time while they’re alive. With an irrevocable trust, a settlor can’t change or nullify it without permission from all beneficiaries or a Court order.
Why These Changes Are Important
At the very least, significant life changes should compel you to review your estate plan and see how it relates to your current situation. For example, you recently separated from a spouse – the same person you designated as a living trust beneficiary. After the divorce, you’ll need to update your beneficiary designations immediately and remove your former spouse (you’ll also want to check those agent designations on your health care directive and financial power of attorney).
What Can You Change With an Amendment?
You can change any of the terms of a living revocable trust at any time, and some amendments are pretty common to make. The most typical examples include:
- Renaming your trustee, who is the individual responsible for managing the trust
- Reestablishing the distribution and investment of assets
- Changing the authority granted to trustees and beneficiaries
- Dividing a single trust into two or more trusts (or combining trusts)
- Terminating the trust and distributing assets to beneficiaries
Before you make any amendment to a living trust, you must ensure that the changes adhere to the law. An experienced attorney can help you achieve the desired results while meeting every legal requirement.
Setting up a revocable trust requires comprehensive knowledge of estate planning laws. You could end up mismanaging your assets and compromising the value of your estate if you fail to hire an attorney. Ultimately, your goal is to ensure that you can leave behind secured inheritances for your loved ones.
Consult an Experienced Attorney Today
You should never allow any uncertainty when it comes to protecting your loved ones and providing them with financial security. Creating an estate plan offers many unique benefits and prepares your family for any scenario. Here at Jenkins & Jenkins in San Diego, we assist Californians in accommodating all of their estate planning needs. Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment.
Testimonial from Tarek, Satisfied Trust Planning Client
We searched for good trust attorneys for quite some time before someone recommended Jenkins and Jenkins. Michael helped us establish our living trust, health directives, wills, and power of attorney. He made the process very smooth, explaining the general process, and taking the time to understand our wishes. He clearly explained our options along with benefits and drawbacks for each option. Our trust documents reflect exactly our wishes and Michael helped us make all educated decisions.
The process was much faster than what other trust attorneys would take. Michael was very responsive and patient, taking all the time needed to clarify every point. Without hesitation, we recommend their office to anyone looking for estate planning attorney.