Changes are part of the estate planning process, specifically your trust. Once you complete your estate plan, life continues to unfold. Children grow, assets change, we move, we get married or divorced and have more babies. There may be a disability or a death, and laws will continue to change.
All of this means that changes should be made to your trust on a regular basis. There are two ways that your trust can be changed.
An amendment is a change to the trust much like a codicil is a change to a will. An amendment is drafted and executed, indicating that certain language in the trust is being removed and/or certain language is being added.
An amendment is typically used for minor changes such as changing the name of a successor trustee or the name of a charitable beneficiary.
If there are many changes, in depth changes, or there have been several amendments, a restatement is typically used to avoid confusion.
A restatement is an entire new trust agreement. All the previous language is “thrown out” and the new language is inserted.
The name of the trust remains the same so the funding (i.e. asset titling) is not affected. There is an indication on the first page of the restated trust that it is indeed a restatement to avoid confusion.
If You Change the Trustee: Important Things to Remember
- If the trustee name is changed, be sure to carry out this change within the ancillary documents such as the pour-over-will and powers of attorney.
- Notify financial institutions of the trustee change with a new Affidavit of Trust or Certificate of Trust
Other Important Things to Remember
- Keep any amendments with the originals so they are not missed
- If you want to make changes to your trust or other estate planning documents, take notes on a separate piece of paper. NEVER write on your trust.
If you have questions about updating your trust, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.
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