A revocable trust is a convenient legal document to utilize if you want your family to avoid the hassle of probate court after you pass away. Your property still belongs to you while you are alive, but at your death an appointed trustee will manage all the trust property and distribute it according to wishes outlined in the trust. One of the benefits of a revocable trust is that it can be amended during your lifetime.
Consult an attorney to make sure you have a valid revocable trust. Enlisting the assistance of an attorney is not a legal requirement, but your trust can fail and your property will be distributed through probate if you do not meet all the requirements of a valid trust. Having an attorney guide you through the process reduces the possibility of having legal defects in your trust.
Draft your amending document with the assistance of an attorney. The aid of an attorney is not legally required, and you can draft the document yourself, but having professional legal assistance reduces the chances that your amendment will be deemed invalid.
Add an attachment to your trust if you intend on amending only a small portion of the trust. Rewrite the section of the trust you want to amend using unambiguous language. You need to be as clear as possible to ensure your amendment does not conflict with any existing sections of the trust. Sign the amendment, have the amendment notarized (with the signatures in place) and file the amendment with your attorney.
Write a restatement of the trust if you need to amend a majority of the original trust or if you have created numerous attachments. The existence of too many attachments can make the trust confusing and difficult to interpret. Redrafting the document may help avoid ambiguity and conflicting language. The restatement must meet the formation requirements of the original trust.
- Make copies of your trust and its amendments in case the originals are lost or destroyed.
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