A living trust is an excellent estate planning tool which ensures your assets are managed, divided, and distributed as per your wishes after your death. It also allows your designated beneficiaries to inherit or receive a share of what is rightfully theirs without having to deal with the probate court.
One of the biggest advantages of a living trust is that you can change the provisions any time you want. The most common reasons for making changes to a trust include:
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Sale of a property which is in the trust
- Death of a beneficiary
- Changing a beneficiary
- Changing the trustee
If you want to make changes to your trust due to any of the aforementioned reasons – or for an entirely different reason for that matter – you can get it done through an amendment or a restatement.
What Is a Trust Amendment?
A trust amendment – as the name suggests – is a process through which you can amend the provisions of your living trust. Once the amendments are made, the updated or modified provisions supersede the old provisions, which are no longer applicable. It is a relatively simple process which does not take a lot of time and does not cost you a lot of money.
An amendment is the best way to update or modify the provisions of your trust – if the changes you are planning to make are minor or minimal. These might include:
- Adding, deleting, or amending certain bequests
- Updating a trustee’s or beneficiary’s name (if they have legally changed their name after marriage, divorce, or for any other reason)
- Sale of a trust property
- Rewriting or rephrasing certain ambiguously worded provisions
What Is a Trust Restatement?
A restatement is a process through which you can make substantial changes to your trust and rewrite it completely. Once the changes are made, the rewritten or restated trust document supersedes the old document, which is no longer relevant or legally valid.
You can choose to restate your living trust if you want to make substantial changes, which might include:
- Adding one or more new beneficiaries
- Cutting out one or more existing beneficiaries
- Changing the way that you want your assets to be managed, divided, and distributed after your death
- Substantially increasing or reducing the share of assets a beneficiary (or more than one beneficiary) is set to receive after your death
- Changing the successor trustee
- Changing outdated provisions to ensure statutory compliance
Amendment vs. Restatement: Which is The Right Option for You?
As mentioned above, an amendment makes sense when you plan to make minor changes to your trust without altering its basic framework or changing the way it was meant to be managed after your death.
However, if there are too many changes to be made, making a series of amendments might not be a good idea. While there is no cap on how many times you can amend your trust, making too many amendments can make it harder for you – and your beneficiaries in the event of your death – to read and understand the provisions of the trust.
If you want to modify or remove several provisions of your trust or if you have had a change of heart about how your trust should be managed after your death, a restatement might be the right option for you.
If you have already made too many amendments to your trust, you can consolidate all the amendments by restating your trust. If you set up your living trust a long time ago, many of the provisions might be outdated and not in compliance with state and federal laws. In such a scenario, restating your trust makes sense, as it allows you to modify and update all the outdated provisions in one sweep.
Whether you plan to amend or restate your trust, it is important to have an experienced estate planning attorney by your side, as they can make sure the modified or updated provisions reflect your wishes and are in compliance with state and federal laws.
Looking to Amend or Restate Your Trust? Contact our La Mesa, CA Estate Planning Attorneys Today!
At Garmo & Garmo, we understand that your trust might have to be amended from time to time – as and when your needs change. We have highly skilled attorneys who have an in-depth understanding of state as well as federal estate planning laws and have over 80 years of combined experience in estate planning.
We can help you amend or restate your living trust – depending on your needs – and make sure all the provisions are modified and updated exactly as per your needs and wishes. To find out how you can amend or restate your trust, call us today at 619-441-2500 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.