How to Modify a Living Trust

By Elizabeth Stock

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.

Step 1

Draft an amendment to your living trust. It must refer specifically to the original trust document and be clearly identified as an amendment. You can accomplish this by writing “Amendment to the Grantor’s Living Trust” across the top of the document. List any additions or deletions you wish to make to the living trust and identify each page and paragraph you are referencing in the original document. Create a space at the bottom of the document for the grantor’s signature and date.

Step 2

Sign the living trust amendment before a notary public. All grantors of the original trust must sign the amendment. For example, if you and your spouse are the grantors of the living trust, you must both sign the amendment in the presence of a notary public for it to be valid.

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Step 3

Attach the amendment to the original trust document, using a staple or paperclip. The amendment will not be valid and likely won't make sense unless it is read in tandem with the original trust document.

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References

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What Is the Procedure to Cancel an Existing Living Trust?

Sometimes you need to revisit your previous financial planning decisions. If you recently had a major change in income or assets, which often happens following a divorce, the way in which your property is titled or managed may need a complete overhaul. As part of this adjustment, if you have a living trust that you wish to cancel, you may do so by executing the appropriate revocation paperwork.

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.

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