How to Amend a Revocable Trust

By John Stevens J.D.

One of the advantages of creating a revocable trust is your ability to amend it. Amendments are commonly made to add a beneficiary, such as a new grandchild, but can be used for virtually any trust purpose. Amending a trust typically requires a document --an amendment -- separate from the original trust document. Trusts are often executed with certain legal formalities. Writing on the trust document itself, even if you sign or initial the change, may not be effective and could cause confusion on the future. When in doubt, seek professional help.

Step 1

Write the name of the trust and the date you executed the trust document. For example, “I, Jane Smith, executed the Jane Smith Revocable Trust on April 13, 2004.”

Step 2

Locate the portion of the trust document that provides that you have the power to amend the trust. Trusts are commonly divided in sections, as indicated by Roman numerals or letters. For example, if the power to amend the trust is found under Division III, paragraph (d), make a note of this location.

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Step 3

Write the location of the power to amend in your amendment document. For example, “Under Division III, paragraph (d) of the Jane Smith Revocable Trust, I reserve the power to amend the trust.”

Step 4

Include language expressing your intention to amend the trust. For example, “I hereby amend the trust as follows:”

Step 5

Amend an entire paragraph by specifying the paragraph you intend to amend, followed by the new trust language. For example, “Division II, paragraph (f) is amended to read in its entirety as follows: I direct the trustee to distribute the proceeds from my savings account to my niece, Barbara Rogers.”

Step 6

Delete a paragraph from your trust by identifying the paragraph you intend to delete. For example, “Division II, paragraph (g) is deleted.”

Step 7

Add a paragraph by including the location of the addition, followed by the new language. For example, “Division II, paragraph (j) is added to read as follows:...”

Step 8

Include language to indicate that you intend the rest of the trust language to remain in effect. For example, “In all other respects, the trust remains unchanged.”

Step 9

Date and sign the bottom of the amendment in your capacity as the trustee before a notary public. You may only amend a trust if you are the trustee. Indicate that you are signing as trustee by including “trustee” after your signature.

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How to Dissolve a Revocable Trust


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A living trust allows you to place assets under the care of a trustee who then distributes the assets to the beneficiaries of your choosing, in accordance with the terms you've set forth in your trust document. A living trust is often used to protect assets from the expense and delays of the probate process. A revocable trust is taxed as the grantor's personal assets, while an irrevocable trust is taxed as an independent legal entity. You may establish a living trust by executing a trust document and placing assets into the trust. Although it is best to retain an attorney to draft the living trust, it is possible to draft it yourself with the aid of an online legal document provider.

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The settlor of a California revocable living trust may dissolve all or part of the trust at any time. A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool used to keep assets out of probate. A settlor creates the revocable living trust, transfers ownership of selected assets to it, and usually designates himself as trustee and primary beneficiary. He names alternate beneficiaries to receive assets upon his death. Until that event, he retains use and control of the assets, and retains the right to dissolve the trust at will.

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