Revocable trusts are popular estate planning tools that grantors can update as they see fit. You can amend the trust’s articles, replace a trustee and change the beneficiary information as the situation dictates. All states have legal requirements that trusts and amendments must meet to be considered valid, so keep them in mind as you draft your amendment to be sure it conforms with your state’s statutes.
Review the original trust articles to verify that the trust can be amended and to see if a new amendment is needed. If there are multiple grantors, be sure they agree to the proposed change before drafting the amendment. Gather the information you will need, including the proper spelling of names, current addresses, legal description and location of any real estate and financial account information.Step 2
Prepare a draft of the amendment. Be sure the draft accurately reflects the intended changes. Have the draft reviewed by the other grantors before the amendment is finalized. Review the information carefully, making sure that all names are spelled correctly and addresses and account numbers are correctly entered.Step 3
Execute the amendment in accordance with your state’s laws. Some states require one or more witnesses to sign the amendment, while others mandate the document be notarized in order to be valid. Be sure all signatures are legible and that the amendment is correctly dated.Step 4
Provide copies of the executed document to the appropriate parties and keep the amendment with the original trust. Store all estate planning documents in a safe place until they are needed.
- Be sure the amendment refers to the original trust exactly as the trust name is spelled out in the original trust documents.
- Review the applicable law to make sure the amendment conforms to your state’s requirements.
- If you already have three or four trust amendments, you may want to execute a restatement of the trust to consolidate the changes into one document.
- Only the grantor has the power to amend or terminate the trust. All grantors must agree to any proposed changes.
- Amending a trust can be very complex. You may want to hire an attorney to be sure the amendment is correctly done.
Based in St. Petersburg, Fla., Karen Rogers covers the financial markets for several online publications. She received a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of South Florida.