What is a living trust amendment and do you need one? A living trust amendment is a document signed by the trustee(s) in front of a notary public that revises certain parts of the original living trust, but leaves the remainder of the living trust in full force and effect.
Before you go any further to make changes, first be sure that your living trust is a revocable trust that allows changes to be easily made. The most common living trust is a revocable trust, but there are also irrevocable trusts which are handled differently. Please see an attorney if you have an irrevocable trust or have any specific questions regarding your living trust.
Next, let’s explain what a living trust amendment is not. Many people think they need to amend their living trust when they acquire a new home and want to put it into their living trust. If the distribution of the assets are not going to change, an amendment usually isn’t necessary. For example, if the living trust directs that all the assets will be distributed equally to the beneficiaries, the new home won’t change the distribution. More commonly, assets are distributed like this, although the percentages might not be equal. However, if the living trust says that real property located at 123 Main Street is to be given to one of the beneficiaries specifically, then there will need to an amendment if 123 Main Street no longer exists. It is common for someone to first think they need to amend their living trust when what they need is a trust transfer deed to put the new home into the trust.
Usually an amendment is prepared to change how property will be distributed or to change the successor trustee who is the person named to distribute assets. If the successor trustee is being changed, that usually means that the agent on a power of attorney or other documents is also changing, which means more documents will need to be prepared in addition to the living trust amendment.
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