A Minnesota Estate Planning Lawyer Discusses Making an Amendment to Your Trust
I get asked this question regularly by clients who worry that once a trust is in place, it can’t be changed. There are a couple of ways to change a trust: 1) A Trust Amendment; and 2) a Restatement of the Trust.
A Trust Amendment is a legal document that changes specific provisions of a Revocable Living Trust but leaves all of the other provisions unchanged. The key to a Revocable Living Trust is that it is revocable. So, at any time while the Trustmaker is alive and competent, then he/she can change, modify and update – as well as completely revoke – the provisions of the Trust agreement.
Generally, if the changes that the Trustmaker wants to make are minimal, such as adding or deleting specific bequests, changing who will serve as Backup Trustee, then an Amendment is appropriate. If you are considering making a change to your Revocable Living Trust, do not mark up your trust agreement. By law, a Trust Amendment must be signed with the same formalities as the original Trust. Any hand written changes will either void the entire Trust or be ignored.
A key part of doing a Trust Amendment is that the original name and date of your Revocable Living Trust will remain the same. Thus, all of the hard work you put into funding your Revocable Living Trust under the original trust name and date will not need to be undone.
Always consult with an Estate Planning Attorney to prepare your Trust Amendment so that it will be legally valid and binding on all of the Trust’s Beneficiaries.