A family trust is a legal document that allows assets to pass on to family and future generations. Family is defined as individuals who are linked through blood, or by law. Sometimes you may need to change (amend), a family trust due to changes in your life or assets. Your residence, as well as the way the original family trust was drafted, will determine the amendment process.
Make sure all settlers on the trust are in agreement with amending the trust. The settler is the original initiator of the revocable trust. If your spouse or secondary person is also a settler, you must obtain their agreement to amend the trust.
Draft a typewritten document listing the changes you would like to make to the trust. Hire an attorney if you would like to have him draft the amendment. Copy the original text from the old trust that needs to be changed in the amendment document. People reading the amendment should be able to know exactly what part of the original trust you are changing.
Sign the amendment in front of someone like a notary public, ideally with a witness, depending on your state's laws.
View the family trust to see what specific portions of the trust can be amended. When the original trust was written, the settler may have listed certain portions of the trust that can be changed. Specific portions of the trust may also list who is authorized to make changes to the trust.
Obtain the agreement of all beneficiaries of the trust. In order to amend or terminate an irrevocable trust, all beneficiaries must agree to the changes, which means you must disclose all prior information on the trust.
File a petition with your state's probate court to make changes to the irrevocable trust. Your state may determine the specifics on how or if you need to go through the probate court to make changes. Hire an attorney to assist you with making the changes on your behalf. Depending on your state, have the typewritten amendment document notarized, with a witness.
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