The ease with which you can make changes to your living trust depends on what kind of trust you created. If you made an irrevocable trust, you'll have an uphill battle. You generally cannot amend an irrevocable trust except under rare circumstances and with the express permission of the court. If your trust is revocable, however, you can make changes any time you like.
Go online to find a form for a revocable living trust amendment. This is not a document you must file with a court, so it doesn’t require exact language and wording. However, there are certain things you’ll want to include, so having a format to follow is helpful.
Read More: How to Amend a Trust to Add a Co-Trustee
Write your amendment. Print the name of your trust at the top and state if this is the first change you’ve made to it. If it is not, itemize the other changes you've made; list them by date. State whether this amendment supersedes the other changes, or if you intend them to remain in effect in addition to this new change.
List the articles or numbered paragraphs in your original trust document that you want to change. After you cite each article or paragraph, state expressly that you are amending it to the language that follows. Detail the new, altered provision you want to include.
Take your completed amendment to a notary public, along with a photo ID. Not all states require that you have your amendment notarized; check your state’s website to find out if yours does. You might want to have it notarized anyway. It can’t hurt and it might avoid any question after your death that you really intended to make this change and weren’t just considering it.
Attach your notarized amendment to your original trust documents. Store them together. This will ensure that your successor trustee, the person you’ve appointed to take over management of your trust after your death, knows about the change and implements it.
Resist the temptation to make handwritten changes on your trust documents. Unless you amend your trust with a clearly written additional document, your successor trustee might have to guess at your intentions or try to decipher your handwriting.
- Law Offices of Merwyn J. Miller: How Not to Change a Trust
- Lawyers.com: Modifying or Terminating a Trust
- American Bar Association: Changing Your Mind – Changing, Adding To, Revoking Your Will or Trust (PDF)
- Secure Estate Services: A Guide to Living Trusts (PDF)
- LG&G Group: Revocable Living Trust Amendment (PDF)
Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.