Amending a Living Trust in California

By Melly Parker
Trusts manage the distribution of your assets after you die

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Living trusts provide a structured distribution of assets to California beneficiaries after the death of the estate holder, offer many tax benefits to the new owners of the assets after the death of the trust holder. Living trusts can be changed at any time as long as they aren't set up as irrevocable trusts. To amend a living revocable trust in California, you can either recreate the entire document or add a new amendment that either adds something to the original document or removes something from it. Both methods are recognized in California courts.

Decide whether you want to reinstate the entire trust or if you want to add a single amendment. If you're making large changes, you should consider redoing the entire document. If it's a simple change, just add a new amendment.

Contact your trust or estate lawyer. You should never attempt to perform changes to your trust in California without a lawyer. There are too many tax laws and contract laws governing the use of trusts in California for anyone but a lawyer to understand and correctly complete the paperwork. If you do not have a lawyer, you can find one using the California State Bar online.

Write down the change that you want to make in detail. If you're removing a section from your trust, you could write "Delete Clause Six" and then print that change and add it to the end of your trust paperwork. Sign and date the change. You will have to have the document witnessed by two observers who will sign and date their signatures, like you did when you first prepared it. Then you will have to have the entire document signed by a notary before it becomes legitimate.

Discuss the changes with your lawyer and redistribute the assets in the trust if you decide to redo the entire document. You'll have to have two trustworthy witnesses, both California residents not connected with your estate, sign the document.

Make copies of your new trust paperwork and give them to your lawyer and the executor of your estate. You should also keep a personal copy in a safe place.

About the Author

Melly Parker has been writing since 2007, focusing on health, business, technology and home improvement. She has also worked as a teacher and a bioassay laboratory technician. Parker now serves as a marketing specialist at one of the largest mobile app developers in the world. She holds a Master of Science in English.

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