Changing a Living Trust
When most people speak of a living trust, they are referring to a revocable living trust. In fact, however, a living trust can be either revocable or irrevocable. As your College Station living trust attorney will tell you, he term “living” simply means the trust was created during the lifetime of the creator, or trustor, as opposed to after the trustor's death, as would be in a testamentary trust created in a will. As the name implies, other than for very limited exceptions, an irrevocable living trust cannot be changed, but a revocable one can.
Amending a Revocable Living Trust
If the trustor wishes to change only part of the trust, a trust amendment is an option. For example, if a named successor trustee can no longer act in that capacity, an amendment cane be attached to the trust reflecting the change. In creating the amendment, it is advisable to:
- Specifically refer to the paragraph in the trust
- Quote the exact wording of the paragraph
- State specifically the language of the replacement paragraph indicating the change
The trustor or trustors must sign and the amendment should be notarized.
If significant portions of the trust need to be changed or if there have been many amendments added over the years, it may be advisable to revoke the original trust in its entirety and create a new one. To avoid confusion and ensure the wishes of the trustor are followed, it is important to include language that specifically states the original trust was revoked and name the new trust as a restatement.
Another option the trustor has is to terminate the trust and not create a new one. This decision should not be made lightly and should involve the wise counsel of a College Station living trust attorney. If this occurs or if the named trustee is changed through amendment, it may be necessary to retitle assets. When assets are transferred to a trust, they typically are in the name of the trustee; if the trust no longer exists or if there is a different trustee, title must reflect that fact.