How to Restate a Living Trust

By Teo Spengler

A living trust is a fully revocable trust that typically avoids the probate process. Trusts are established by a legal document and property is transferred into it. The trust is administered for your benefit while you are alive and its assets are only transferred to your named beneficiaries upon your death. One method used to change the terms is by restating the trust.

A living trust is a fully revocable trust that typically avoids the probate process. Trusts are established by a legal document and property is transferred into it. The trust is administered for your benefit while you are alive and its assets are only transferred to your named beneficiaries upon your death. One method used to change the terms is by restating the trust.

Amending Living Trusts

If you want to alter provisions in your living trust, you have two alternatives. You can draft and execute an amendment to the trust document containing the new language and attach it to the back of the document. Alternatively, you can rewrite the entire document, inserting whatever changes you desire as you go. This is referred to as restating the trust.

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Advantages to Restating Trust

Generally, it is preferable to restate your trust than to draft a limited amendment. If you use amendments, the entire trust history is accessible. The successor beneficiaries can read through the documents when you die, noting the times you decreased or increased their shares. With a restated trust, you can destroy earlier documents.

Procedure to Restate

The easiest way to alter a living trust is to pull up the document on a computer and change it as you see fit. The new title must reference the original trust and its set-up date, and state this document is the restated version. You may execute the new document according to your state's laws, exactly as you would if you were creating a new trust.

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References

Related articles

What Happens to a Revocable Trust When the Trustee Dies?

The laws surrounding revocable living trusts are made somewhat confusing by overlapping terminology. The names grantor, trustmaker, trustor, settler and trustee all refer to the same person, the creator of the trust. This is because, unlike with an irrevocable trust, he maintains control of the assets he places into it. He can sell them, add others, or remove them for his personal use. As manager of the trust, he is the trustee, at least until his death.

How to Make Changes to a Living Trust

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.

How to Revoke a Living Trust

If your trust is revocable, you have the right to amend it at will. However, sometimes the changes might be so all-encompassing that it’s easier to “erase” your trust and start over. In this case, you also have the right to revoke it. The process isn't complicated, but you have to do something with the assets you placed into it.

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