A revocable living trust is a flexible estate planning tool that allows individuals to maintain control over their assets during their lifetime while providing for the seamless transfer of those assets to beneficiaries upon their death.
However, circumstances may change, and individuals may need to modify or amend their revocable living trust to accommodate new situations or preferences. In this response, we will explore the process of changing a revocable living trust and how it can be done in this post.
Reviewing the Trust Document
The first step in changing a revocable living trust is to carefully review the existing trust document. This document serves as the foundation of the trust and outlines the provisions, instructions, and distribution preferences. Understanding the current terms of the trust is crucial to determine what specific changes need to be made.
Determine the Type of Modification
Once the trust has been reviewed, the next step is to identify the type of modification needed. Generally, there are two ways to change a revocable living trust: through an amendment or a restatement.
An amendment is a document that is executed to modify specific provisions of the trust without completely rewriting it. It is often used for minor changes, such as updating beneficiary designations, changing trustees, or revising certain instructions.
A restatement involves creating an entirely new trust document that supersedes and replaces the original trust. This approach is typically used when more significant changes are required, such as revising the entire structure of the trust or altering distribution provisions.
Consult With a Professional
Changing a revocable living trust is a complex legal process for a layperson, and it is advisable to consult with professionals to ensure the modifications are done correctly.
An experienced estate planning attorney can provide guidance, review the proposed changes, and prepare the necessary legal documents to effectuate the modifications.
Prepare the Modification Documents
If an amendment is deemed appropriate, the attorney will draft the necessary legal document reflecting the desired changes. The amendment should clearly identify the specific provisions being modified and provide the new instructions or terms.
This document should be executed following the formal requirements outlined in the original trust document.
If a restatement is required, the attorney will prepare a new trust document that incorporates the desired changes. The restatement document should clearly state that it replaces and supersedes the previous trust, and it should be executed following the formal requirements for creating a trust, including proper signing and witnessing.
Distribute the Docs
Once the modification documents have been prepared and executed, it is important to distribute copies to all relevant parties. This typically includes the grantor(s) of the trust, the successor trustee, and any other individuals or institutions affected by the changes. It is crucial to keep the modification documents in a safe and accessible location alongside the original trust document.
Update Beneficiary Designations and Asset Ownership
In addition to modifying the trust document itself, it is essential to review and update beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other assets to ensure they align with the revised trust provisions.
Similarly, if the ownership of assets needs to be transferred into the trust or modified, appropriate steps should be taken to implement those changes. This may involve executing deeds, assignments, or other transfer documents as required.
Let’s Get Started!
Our doors are open if you are ready to work with a Tulsa, OK estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place. You can call us at 918-615-2700 to set up an appointment, and our Oklahoma City office can be reached at 405-843-6100. If you would rather send us a message, fill out our contact form and we will get back in touch with you ASAP.
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