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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Void or Cancel a Living Trust
 

References

Related articles

How to Finalize a Living Trust

Creating a living trust document is only one step in the process of creating a living trust. Think of a living trust as a vessel that holds property. Without property, a trust is not created. Thus, finalizing a living trust, sometimes referred to as “funding” the trust, requires executing the trust document and transferring assets to the trust.

How to Modify a Living Trust

A living trust is a legal document that can benefit you and your beneficiaries during and after your lifetime by implementing a plan for managing your assets. However, situations may arise in which you find yourself needing to modify your living trust after it has been created. For example, you might sell some of the assets held in the trust or you might marry, divorce or have a change of heart about one or more of your beneficiaries. You can modify a living trust by drafting and executing an amendment to the trust. The laws of each state differ as to how this procedure is accomplished.

Amending a Testamentary Trust

To set up a testamentary trust, you include language in your last will and testament stating your intention to establish the trust. Because your will doesn't take effect until you're deceased, the testamentary trust can be amended before your death, usually by amending the will.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

How to Prepare an Amendment to a Revocable Trust

You create a living trust to transfer assets to the control of a trustee, who has the legal authority to manage the ...

How to Dissolve a Revocable Trust

A living trust is a legal agreement you draft regarding control and distribution of your assets while you're still ...

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 ...

What Are the Rules for Changing a Living Trust After a Spouse Dies?

A living trust is a legal vehicle you can use to transfer property upon your death that avoids probate. If you and your ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED